For Mark West, victory in the Arkansas governor’s race realistically will be measured using two numbers: 50 and 3.

He says if his votes keep Gov. Asa Hutchinson under 50 percent, that would be a measurable number that shows his third party campaign kind of caught on. Achieving that goal seems unlikely.

The more important number is 3 percent. If he wins that amount, his Libertarian Party won't be a “new” party under Arkansas law in 2020, and it won’t have to expend its limited resources collecting 10,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. The party’s 2014 candidate for governor, Frank Gilbert, won 1.92 percent.

How limited are those resources? Hutchinson as of the last campaign finance reporting deadline Aug. 15 had raised $4.3 million for his campaign. The Democratic challenger, Jared Henderson, had raised about $324,000. West has raised $6,000 to date.

The Batesville resident is a corporate office manager by day and until recently a Baptist pastor. He has three kids, the oldest a high school senior, and promised his wife he wouldn’t miss their activities. He campaigns when he can after hours and on the weekends.

West previously was a Republican and then later an independent, finally landing with the Libertarians in 2013. In 2016, he won 24 percent running for Congress against U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, but there was no Democrat in the race.

He said Libertarians believe in voluntary associations and the principle: “Don’t hurt people; don’t take their things.” That extends to government activity, which they say is a form of force and aggression.

So while Hutchinson may talk about a tax cut, West wants to eliminate all taxes and let private enterprise fill those gaps. He wants all government funding eventually to be voluntarily.

Government spending, meanwhile, would be drastically reduced if he had his way. All schools would be private. That arrangement would create “more competition so teachers will do better jobs, or they’re not going to get paid,” he said. They also would be freed from all federal and state regulations. Meanwhile, West would end state incentives used to lure employers to Arkansas. He says those benefit corporations at the expense of small businesses.

An ongoing major issue in state government has been Arkansas’ expansion of its Medicaid population. Arkansas uses mostly federal funds to buy private insurance for 271,000 lower-income Arkansans under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Republican legislators and Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, created the program in 2013. Hutchinson has preserved it while reducing the number served and instituting a work requirement.

West, of course, would end it entirely, along with other government spending on health care, for which he says the federal government has no constitutional authority. He says private enterprise at the community level would better serve beneficiaries.

He also opposes gun restrictions and would end the state’s concealed carry license program as well as all public gun-free zones. Private businesses could still declare themselves as such.

Regarding government spending, Libertarians often are to the right of Republicans. On social issues, however, they often are to the left of Democrats. West hopes to pick up Democratic votes by advocating for criminal justice reform. He would decriminalize all drugs, not just marijuana, and have addicts served by privately operated treatment programs. He’d reform the bail system to provide options for poor people. However, unlike many Libertarians, he’s pro-life on abortion.

I don’t see how he wins many Democratic votes, but there is a small mass of voters who would be particularly receptive to his message: self-described Libertarians, the 63,000 who voted for Jan Morgan (and against Hutchinson) in the May Republican primary, and people disgusted with the two major parties.

The ever-present challenge for third party and independent candidates is overcoming the idea that supporting anyone besides a Republican or Democrat is “wasting your vote.” His response: “I think it’s a waste of your vote to vote for somebody you don’t believe in.”

Do enough people believe in West, and his almost-no-government message, to elect him governor in 2018? No. But this is the Libertarians’ chance to get that 3 percent, and realistically for them and for him, that would be a win.

Steve Brawner is a syndicated columnist in Arkansas. Email him at brawnersteve@mac.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevebrawner.