Luke Wenke

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Luke Wenke
Chair
Cattaraugus County Libertarian Party
December 29, 2018—May 16, 2020
Predecessor: Shannon Gates (as TCC)
Successor: Peyton Kunselman
Personal Details
Birth: (1992-04-15) April 15, 1992 (age 28)
Dunkirk, New York
Party: Libertarian Party

Luke Marshal Wenke (born April 15, 1992) is a Libertarian Party activist. He was the Chair of the Cattaraugus County Libertarian Party from 2018 to 2020. He is also the founder of the Facebook groups Olean Politics and Let’s Bitch About Cuomo. In 2020, he ran for Chair of the Libertarian National Committee.

Biography

Early Life

Luke Marshal Wenke was born April 15, 1992 at Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk, New York, to Kevin Wenke and Janet McCaul, who were students at SUNY Fredonia. He graduated from Salamanca High School in 2010 and attended Jamestown Community College for three semesters as a music major.

Politics

Wenke has been a member of the Libertarian Party since October 2013. He has explained that Jesse Ventura was his first political influence in high school. During the 2008 election Wenke, he noticed Ventura giving commentary on the news and was inspired by the idea of an independent outsider breaking the two party paradigm and getting elected Governor. Wenke was registered Republican for a few years into his adulthood, having supported Carl Paladino for Governor of New York in 2010 and later on Ron Paul in the 2012 Republican primaries, before having shifted all support over to Gary Johnson’s 2012 run for President.

Wenke had watched Libertarian activities for years on the outside before getting directly involved. Wenke has used what he calls the “armchair politician perspective” to make his political decisions since the majority of people are on the outside watching everything happen. Wenke has tried to remember “the audience” in order to extend his reach and get the libertarian message across to as many people as possible without “selling out” or “watering things down."

Wenke learned about anarcho-capitalism in early 2017 and has attributed the anarchist ideology to bettering his own life. He has described anarchism as “taking your politics and utopian view and applying it to yourself as a lifestyle choice as opposed to enforcing it on others through taxation and laws” and has made it a mission to normalize the ideology.

Wenke has been subjected to constant social media censorship, but has been the founder of such Facebook groups as Olean Politics and Let’s Bitch About Cuomo. In 2012, Wenke used the Topix forum website to swirl rumors about a potential run for Mayor of Salamanca, having successfully sparked the entire Salamanca area’s awareness about the potential run. Wenke did not live in Salamanca at the time but “since everyone knew former Mayor Carmen Vecchiarella didn’t even live in town, why shouldn’t I use someone else’s address as my voting address and run anyways?” Wenke ultimately did not run for the position, but this Topix stunt was early proof of Wenke’s “internet yeller” abilities.

Libertarian Party Involvement

In 2018, Wenke organized and recorded several live videos with New York gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe in his Olean Politics group on Facebook, which achieved tens of thousands of views. Wenke also organized “Twitter Hounds” on behalf of the campaign, which was a united effort of hundreds of Libertarians all at once Tweeting towards big media sources and successfully getting Libertarians on big shows. In December, he was elected Chair of the Cattaraugus County Libertaran Party.

In 2019, Wenke ran for Cattaraugus County Coroner while serving as county chairman. Using the campaign slogan, “Any Schmuck Can Run For Coroner," Wenke used his local name recognition to remind everyone that as long as we have a government anyone, should be able to run and get have a chance to get elected. As of 2019, Cattaraugus County did not have an elected county executive, the as the County Legislature elects it’s own leader. Wenke used the coroner run as a pseudo-county executive run to talk about county issues and libertarian solutions for them. According to Wenke, his Republican opposition attempted to publicly humiliate him by digging up pictures from Wenke’s FetLife account and posting them all over Facebook. Wenke’s response was to post a picture of himself in bdsm gear, with his coroner campaign sign, and a piece of paper that read “People on welfare can’t afford expensive bondage gear!” as a way to fire back at Republicans. Wenke ended up receiving 3% of the vote.

Wenke hosted the first livestreamed Libertarian presidential debate at Olean High School in November 2019 during the 2019 New York Libertarian Summit. Wenke hosted presidential candidate Vermin Supreme and organized a rock concert at Napoli’s Pizza of Olean on behalf of Mr. Supreme.

In 2020 Wenke, ran for Chair of the Libertarian National Committee and participated in a livestreamed debate during the National Convention.

Wenke went to Minneapolis the week after the George Floyd protests in order to check up on fellow Libertarian Benjamin Ryan Teeter. Wenke stated that not one bullet was fired in his presence but that it was extremely unsafe to walk around the city unarmed. Wenke had also been tear gassed during the protests. Wenke has stated that his misleading dealings with the FBI throughout 2020 and watching important friends get entrapped into arbitrary arrests solidified his disgust for government corruption.

Political Campaigns

In 2018, he volunteered for the Larry Sharpe for Governor campaign.

In 2019, Wenke ran for Cattaraugus County Coroner and recieved 3% of the vote.

In 2020, he announced his candidacy to run for Chair of the Libertarian National Committee. He participated in the debate at the national convention, but was not nominated when it came time to vote.

Organizational Positions

Cattaraugus County Libertarian Party
  • Temporary County Chair (August 5, 2018—December 29, 2018)
  • Chair (December 29, 2018—May 16, 2020)