Jan 07 2012

What’s new with the candidates seeking the Libertarian Presidential nomination

Source: Independent Political Report

Here’s what I know about what has happened with the campaigns for the LP presidential nomination in the last few months:

Gary Johnson is now officially in the LP race. Since making that announcement on December 28, Johnson has held a birthday money bomb which netted over $40k and has been included in an ACLU civil liberties report card that compared him to President Obama and the Republican candidates. No other independent or alternative party candidates were included, except Buddy Roemer who is seeking both the Republican and Americans Elect nominations. Johnson did better from the ACLU’s viewpoint than any Democrat or Republican they compared him with. Johnson’s site mentions regional events coming up in the next few weeks, but I haven’t been able to figure out when or where exactly they will be.

Since Johnson has now entered the race, it appears that Wayne Root, previously considered a likely presidential contender, will not be running and will support Johnson instead. A number of people have speculated with varying degrees of certainty that Root will instead run for VP again, as he did in 2008.

Jim Duensing has confirmed that he is no longer running, but is instead working to help elect Ron Paul as the Republican presidential nominee. The last time I did one of these updates that was the rumor I heard, but at that time I was not able to confirm it.

RJ Harris has participated in several debates and state conventions. His site also lists some newspaper articles and interviews, radio interviews, etc. He appeared in a Veterans Day parade. Harris is finishing law school, thus is not able to campaign as much as he would like right now; I’ve heard second hand that he said he will be available full time starting in June. Harris has been involved in some controversy when people associated with his campaign put out some negative campaigning against Johnson. The attacks were not identified as coming from the Harris campaign, but were traced back to it because they were not adequately anonymized.

Lee Wrights has continued writing regular op-eds, visiting state LP conventions, and has now added video messages to his repertoire. He has been in several debates with the other candidates.

Carl Person continues to visit state and local LP meetings, and his site lists a busy schedule of such visits coming up. His campaign suffered several setbacks in the last few months. At one point he said he favors legalizing bestiality. Although he later said he does not want to focus on that issue, his former campaign manager Dr. Tom Stevens continues to make an issue of it, as well as Person’s support for state banks in every state. Several months ago, Person was issuing press releases on a daily basis. As far as I can tell, that has stopped and he has not sent anything out in months. Person also at one point appeared to have offered to pay the airfare of delegates who would support him to the national convention, but later qualified that this only applied to a small number of people he knew personally.

Roger Gary has also continued appearing in some debates and state conventions, but it is not easy to know exactly which ones, since his listing of those on his site – buried in a sub-menu under media – was last updated in May 2011. He did recently put out a press release about Gary Johnson’s entry into the LP race. Before that, his last press release was several months ago, about his communication director addressing college classes, and before that it was a piece about the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

LP newcomer Bill Still has been in a few debates and conventions. He has a following outside the LP, but I’m not aware of any significant efforts to get them signed up as LP members and delegates and get them to the national convention. Nor have I heard of mailings to past delegates by this campaign thus far, as far as I can remember. It is possible that such efforts are happening without my knowledge, or just haven’t happened yet but will. If not, Still may have a hard time competing against long time LP activists and (former) elected official(s).

Robert Milnes, who was also running for the BTP nomination, suffered a setback when he got only one vote for that nomination (presumably his own). He believes that there was some sort of internet sabotage, since his website went down that day and several weeks’ worth of updates disappeared. Milnes continues to update his site with conspiracy theories, tales of his personal travails, and responses to IPR comments.

I am not aware of anything new with the campaigns of Jim Burns, Dave Redick, James Ogle or Miss Joy Waymire.

The Libertarian Party of NM blog also lists several candidates I had not heard of until now – Ralph Allen Beach, Ronald Keith Hebert, and Shawn James Hogan, all filed with the FEC.

Rumors continue to swirl that Jesse Ventura and/or Ron Paul might seek the LP nomination, and Ventura has been in touch with LP national chair Mark Hinkle to discuss the possibility, while Paul has refused to rule out a race outside the GOP. However, at this stage either of them actually seeking the LP nomination is only rumors and speculation.

Additional information about the activities of any of these candidates, and any that I may have missed, welcome in the comments.

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