Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen pulls some votes from Biden and Trump


GREENVILLE, S.C. –Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensenspent Tuesday night at her election watch party in Dallas.

By Thursday, she was back on Clemson University's campus to teach her in-person class.

In addition to being the first female Libertarian nominee for president, Jorgensen, 63, is a psychology lecturer who has juggled teaching with running a campaign since her nomination this summer.

And while the White House is impossible for the third-party candidate – she's on pace to get 1.1% of the national vote, according to the latest results – Jorgensen and the Libertarians pulled thousands of crucial votes away from Democrat and Republican candidates in several battleground states.

Pulling votes from Biden, Trump

The Greenville, South Carolina, resident spoke to The Greenville News of the USA TODAY Network on Wednesday just minutes after Wisconsin had been called for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by the Associated Press.

Jorgensen, who ran alongside Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, resident Spike Cohen, earned 38,414 votes in Wisconsin, according to the AP.

Results on Thursday morning showed President Donald Trumplost the state by roughly 20,000 votes.

Overall, she earned the second-most votes of any Libertarian nominee ever with at least 1.6 million votes, according to the AP.

And yet, even some of her students may not know Jorgensen is even on the ballot.

"Unlike many liberal professors who talk about their politics in class, I think it's egregious for me to take time that tuition is being spent on to talk about my pet politics. I have never once mentioned to my students in class or outside of class, 'Hey, I'm running for president,' " she said.

Jorgensen: Tuesday night should be a wake-up call

Jorgensen said third-party voters aren't to blame for a Republican loss – Republicans are.

"They should be mad at those candidates for not following through on their campaign promises," she said.

Jorgensen has been campaigning across the country since the summer and said many supporters have come from across party lines – mainly, "recovering Democrats" who want troops called home from overseas missions and Republicans upset that Trump failed to cut the national budget deficit as he promised during his 2016 campaign, she said.

The major parties' close race this election should be a wake-up call, Jorgensen added.

"If I can get Republicans to start acting like Republicans and cutting the deficit. And if I can get the Democrats to go back to being the party of peace, bringing our troops home, and giving the average individual their rights? Then yes, I would be very pleased."

About 70% of Jorgensen's campaign volunteers were registered Democrats or Republicans, she said.

"In the personal conversations I had (on the campaign trail) a lot of people would say, 'Yeah, in 2016 I voted for Trump. I was so excited and then he didn't follow through on his promises,'" she said.

Jorgensen performed the best in rural, Western states. She secured 2.7% of the vote in Alaska and North Dakota and 2.6% of the vote in South Dakota, according to the AP.

In her home state, she did not fare as well. But, Jorgensen wasn't really paying attention to her performance in South Carolina.

"You know, I haven't even checked it yet," she said of her voter spread in South Carolina on Wednesday afternoon.

Jorgensen will return to South Carolina's Upstate, where she lives and works, but hopes to continue "spreading the message" of the Libertarian Party after the election is over.

But first, "I teach a class tomorrow."