Libertarian candidate Lily Tang Williams will be allowed to participate in Colorado’s first U.S. Senate debate after being told last week she didn’t qualify.
The debate, sponsored by an influential Western Slope business group, Club 20, will be on Saturday.
The group last week said it wouldn’t allow Williams to debate Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet and Republican Darryl Glenn because, at the time, the Libertarian Party didn’t have 1 percent of voters in Colorado registered as party members.
The third largest political party in the state missed the 1 percent mark by only 0.023 percent.
But that was last month.
Today, Club 20’s director, Christian Reese, confirmed to The Colorado Independent that, with the new voter registration figures released by the Secretary of State’s office, the Libertarian Party now meets the threshold to qualify for its debate.
Asked if Williams would be allowed to participate, Reese said yes. Those interested in attending can register here.
“This could be a game changer,” Williams told The Independent when she heard the news, adding that she would offer a serious third option in Colorado’s race for the U.S. Senate.
A Chinese immigrant, Williams, 51, won her party’s nomination in March at a convention in Colorado Springs, the birthplace of the national Libertarian Party. She often talks about her former life under the Communist leader Mao Zedong and about her personal journey to freedom in America. Now a real estate investor who lives in Parker, she came to the United States, she says, when she was 24 and with just $100 in her pocket. She didn’t know English.
If elected to the U.S. Senate, Williams says she would try to abolish the Department of Education, curb crony capitalism and corporate welfare, and roll back the country’s mass surveillance programs. She supports the Libertarian nominee for president, Gary Johnson, who was polling around 16 percent in Colorado last month.
“This is fantastic news for Lily,” says Jay North, chairman of the Colorado Libertarian Party.
North says the state party made a push to register Libertarians in the past week or so after news broke that Williams wouldn’t make the debate because of the party’s registration numbers. He said the party picked up about 2,000 new registered voters last month.
Of the new growth in membership, he says: “We pushed, but I think it was more that people are just leaving the other parties and are tired it.”