In the winner-take-all world of local elections, losing by 230,140 votes wouldn’t often be a cause for celebration. But celebrate is exactly what Bruce Majors did on Nov. 6. His long-shot Libertarian Party quest to unseat D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton got nowhere as many votes as the 11-term incumbent, but it did attract more than double what he needed to gain the small-government movement “major party” status in D.C.

So Libertarians will join Democrats, Republicans, and Statehood Greens as a political party entitled to hold primaries, effectively making it much easier for Libertarian candidates to appear on the ballot. (The District’s mélange of “minor” political parties includes the Communist Party, the Cocktail Party, and the Theocratic Party.) Majors, a 56-year-old real estate agent and author of an infamous D.C. travel guide for Tea Party members, tried valiantly to spread his message of limited government, low taxes, and lesser penalties for drug use. In a town of voters disenchanted with local Democrats and critical of the Republican brand, it proved to be a winning combination—at least if you define “winning” loosely enough.