Reported in the Manchester, NH Union Leader newspaper:
Although he’s yet to secure a spot on the New Hampshire presidential ballot, Republican-turned-Libertarian Bob Barr visited Manchester yesterday, drawing attention and, possibly votes, away from Republican John McCain.
Barr visited Murphy’s Tap Room in downtown Manchester, where about 90 people listened to his calls for small government and personal freedom, and nodded agreement to his notion that the country’s two major political parties are headed in the same direction.
“Americans have this sense about them — that we can take advantage of in this election cycle — that the system is not serving them well,” said Barr, a former four-term congressman from Georgia.
His New Hampshire visit comes the same day that John McCain visited the Granite State, which McCain has twice won in hard-fought Republican Party primaries.
McCain said he’s not discounting Barr’s potential impact on the November election.
“You take everything seriously, and it means I’ve got to campaign hard,” McCain said early yesterday. McCain said New Hampshire voters have a very independent streak.
But for Barr to do damage, he has to get on the New Hampshire ballot. He needs the signatures of 1,500 registered voters from each of the state’s two congressional districts, and state GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen said he’s yet to hear any reports of people gathering signatures for Barr.
But Rich Tomasso, media director for the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, said Barr has about 3,500 signatures in New Hampshire so far. He is shooting for a goal of 5,000 signatures before the petition period closes in two weeks, he said.
Barr said he had no idea McCain would be in New Hampshire the same day he was. He and Tomasso said Barr visited the state after scoring 10 percent of the New Hampshire vote in an Internet poll recently conducted by Zogby International. It was the highest percentage in the country for Barr, who has the Libertarian Party endorsement for president..
Another Libertarian, Massachusetts resident George Phillies, appears to be the closest to being certified for the New Hampshire ballot. The Secretary of State’s office said Phillies needs about 130 more signatures from the 2nd Congressional District to qualify.
Full article here.