The Rand Paul campaign is making a concerted effort to recruit state Libertarian Party officers and members to their campaign, and in some cases to share their mailing list or voter contacts with the Republican Senator’s campaign for President.
George Phillies, Chair of LP-Massachusetts, reports that “Several state chairs have been contacted by Senator Paul supporters asking for the use of our mailing lists. ” in the July 2015 Open Thread. The Paul campaign in Rhode Island attempted to acquire LP-RI’s list of college affiliate members, and in Georgia the immediate Past Chair of LP-GA Doug Craig was targeted for recruitment by somebody identifying themselves as a national deputy campaign manager. Such efforts have been the object of discussion on the LP State Chairs e-mail list, with all those speaking up confirming that they rejected the solicitations.
That Rand Paul would target Libertarian Party members is not necessarily surprising, nor that they’ve been rebuffed. But the Paul campaign is now taking that tactic a step further.
From Joe Enroughty, a Libertarian activist and LPVA 3rd District Vice-Chair in Richmond, VA:
The Rand Paul campaign appears to be so desperate that they have people calling and stating that he has been endorsed by The Libertarian Party. I received a call tonight from a Rand Paul campaign worker named “Cynthia.” I told Cynthia that I was a member of the LP and that I was most likely planning to vote for the LP Presidential Candidate. But at no time was I planning to vote for a Republican, especially one named Rand Paul. She then told me that the LP had issued a statement asking all of its members to vote for Rand in state primaries where they were able to do so. She also told me that the Paul campaign had been given LP donor lists by the LP to use for his campaign. She wanted me to make a donation either over the phone or online at Rand’s web site.
Another Virginia Libertarian, who requested anonymity due to the nature of his employment, says he received a call from a pro-Rand super PAC Concerned American Voters. The caller claimed that Gary Johnson had endorsed Rand Paul, pointing to an inaccurate headline published by a pro-Rand website. In that interview, Johnson actually stated he plans to vote for the Libertarian nominee and dismissed Rand for “obviously running as a Republican.” The 2012 Libertarian nominee and likely 2016 candidate has been repeatedly critical of what he sees as Rand Paul’s anti-libertarian positions on foreign policy, social issues, and immigration.
C.A.V. also claimed that LNC Chair Nicholas Sarwark had publicly rebuked pro-marriage-equality Libertarians for criticizing Rand, in reference to the events surrounding a controversial Outright Libertarians meme perceived by some as criticizing both Ron Paul and Rand Paul. Sarwark has previously written an open letter condemning Rand Paul for calling for the U.S. to enter the Iraq/Syria civil war, and (in contrast to Sen. Paul) celebrated the Obergefell ruling as vindicating a long-held Libertarian Party position.
Neither the national Libertarian Party nor any state Libertarian Party has endorsed Rand Paul, encouraged Libertarians to vote for or volunteer for Rand Paul, or authorized the Rand Paul campaign to contact LP donors seeking contributions. The Paul campaign and C.A.V. did not respond to requests for comment.