Will Hammer is a former 2014 US House candidate, as well as a 2015 VA House candidate. Both campaigns were historic for a Libertarian in Virginia. In his 2014 US House campaign against Bob Goodlatte, he garnered 12.3% in a three-way race which is the most a Libertarian has ever gotten in a Federal race in Virginia. In 2015, Hammer was able to get 24% against Republican incumbent Dickie Bell in a two-way race. This was the 5th highest by a Libertarian in Virginia for the state office, but the highest percentage versus previous two party challenger with 84% of previous Democrat’s vote percentage totals of 28.7%.
LIVE FREE: FREE MARKETS, FREE MINDS
Though Will has not won through his political endeavors, he continues to further his nearly decade-long libertarian activism. During his sophomore year at Hampden-Sydney College, he co-founded the Hampden-Sydney Classical Liberals, the first libertarian student group on campus. In 2012, he founded Freedom Gulch, an online news magazine aimed at promoting free markets and free minds. Currently, he is redoing the Freedom Gulch website and looking to relaunch shortly. Hammer is also in the initial planning stages for a local cryptocurrency as well as a non-profit to support its acceptance and use, as well as education on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Will has also been recognized by Cointelegraph, one of the top Bitcoin news websites, as one of the 10 politicians in the ‘Best of Bitcoin’. “Hammer is perhaps the politician most engaged with digital currencies to have stood for election to date.”
Will Hammer was born and raised in Staunton, Virginia.
Will Hammer attended Trinity Episcopal Pre-School, T.C. McSwain Elementary School, Shelburne Middle School, and Robert E. Lee High School. While in high school, he co-founded the R.E. Lee Rocket Team. Will was elected and served as Supervisor his junior year and President his senior year. Both years the team qualified for nationals, Team Rocketry Challenge. Over 700 teams attempted to qualify, the top 100 going to nationals. R.E. Lee Rocket Team placed 27th both years, competing with specialized science and math schools across the country.
Will graduated R.E. Lee in 2005 and went to Hampden-Sydney College, just outside of Farmville, Virginia. There he started as a Physics major, wanting to become an engineer. But, he really enjoyed his economic classes and switched majors, graduating with a BA in economics in 2009. He has always had an interest in politics, making political posters and cartoons since early elementary school. Will was raised in a mostly Democratic family and kept those beliefs until he went to college. With becoming an economics major, he started to become more interested in the free market and started to erode his more progressive market thoughts. Soon he started to identify as a libertarian and co-founded a college libertarian organization, Hampden-Sydney Classical Liberals. Will was elected and served as Vice President his junior year and President his senior year.
Since college, Will has stayed active in politics. He volunteered for both Ron Paul Presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. Will was also elected and served as the Treasurer of the Staunton Republican Committee from 2010-2012. Will had hoped to change the party from within, but realized that it is structured so that it’s not feasible, as apparent by Ron Paul’s failed attempts. Wanting a clear conscious, Will stopped working within the two major parties and took a break from politics completely, feeling marginalized.
2013 would change that. A Libertarian would run for Governor in Virginia and would do the best any third party had done in 60+ years. Robert Sarvis would garner over 6% of the vote and make people more familiar with the libertarian ideology and name. After the campaign, Rob asked for more libertarians to run for office the following year. Will was interested in doing so and contacted Rob. After a bit of vetting, Rob liked what he heard from Will. Will sought and won the nomination of the Libertarian Party in the 6th Congressional district.
Getting the nomination was only the beginning, as being a third party candidate, he would have to get 1000 confirmed signatures of qualified voters in the district in less than two months. Will worked tirelessly on the weekends to gather signatures, going to any public event in the district to do so. With the help of some great volunteers, Will was able to gather over 1700 signatures and submitted them to the State Board of Elections about two weeks before the deadline. He received news that he collected enough confirmed signatures and would be on the ballot before the deadline.
In all, the Libertarian Party of Virginia fielded a candidate for each of the 11 Congressional districts. Rob Sarvis also was running for the U.S. Senate. Of the 11 candidates, 7 Congressional candidates were confirmed for the ballot with most of the other candidates just falling short of the 1000 signature threshold. Rob was confirmed as well, having had to collect over 10k signatures, with at least 400 in each Congressional district.
The road to the election was a long and tiring journey, but Will was determined to have a good showing. Will maintained full-time employment during the race, campaigning in the evenings during the week and all weekend. Lucky for him, the Roanoke Libertarian affiliate was an active group that had a lot of great people who volunteered. Will spent a lot of weekends down in Roanoke, attending various events, from Roanoke Pride and the Latino Festival to gun shows and speaking at a Tea Party event. The ability to connect with every group of individuals is one aspect that Will loves about being a Libertarian. He is not bogged down by stereotypes that both major parties condone and portray. Will is about growing community and celebrating everyone.
Will took election week off from work so that he could focus on wrapping up the campaign. This allowed for him to speak at two high schools, E.C Glass in Lynchburg and R.E. Lee in Staunton. His favorite event was speaking to his former high school, conveying a message of not going to vote for him but of following your dream and enjoy what you do in life. Will stayed up for about 40 hours, leaving Roanoke from an event and placing campaign signs at higher volume polling stations from Lexington to Front Royal through the night and into the morning.
Though he wished he had won or done better, Will was very pleased with his results. He did the best in Roanoke, Staunton, and Waynesboro. He hoped to carry that momentum from last year in Staunton and Waynesboro for the VA House of Delegates race and have an even better showing. Will went ahead and announced that he would be running for the VA House of Delegates shortly after the 2014 election.
Also shortly after the election, Will decided that he needed a career change, growing tired of his dead end corporate jobs. Seeking more independence and freedom, he decided that he wanted to start his own small business, as well as become a REALTOR.
In 2015, Will founded Blue Mountain Primitive, which specializes in making handmade products from reclaimed wood and other material. While Will loves to work with his hands and turned a weekend hobby into a small business, he needed something else that would provide just as much freedom but hopefully be a bit more traditional and help pay the bills. He studied and became a licensed real estate agent with Long & Foster.
While juggling a complete career change, starting a business and real estate career, Will continued to campaign and gather the necessary signatures to appear on the ballot. He was confirmed shortly after the deadline that he would indeed appear on the ballot. Will campaigned actively and tried to get substantive conversation about the role of government, just as he did the year before. Though he did not win again, he had, again, gotten a historic result for a Libertarian… Leaving the door wide open to continue to run in the future.