Ballot Access News, Libertarian Party comment on new RNC Chair and a losing candidate for the job

In Ballot Access News, Richard Winger writes

Ken Blackwell Loses Bid to be Republican National Chair

On January 30, the Republican National Committee chose Michael Steele of Maryland to be its new national chair. One of the other candidates for chair, Ken Blackwell, dropped out and endorsed Steele after placing last in the fourth ballot.

Blackwell, a former Ohio Secretary of State, behaved with hostility toward minor parties and independent candidates while he was Secretary of State in 2003 and 2004. In late 2003, he rejected the Ohio Libertarian Party’s petition because the wording on the petition changed while the party was conducting its petition. When the party started its petition, the petition was supposed to say, “The penalty for election falsification is imprisonment for not more than 6 months or a fine of not more than $1,000 or both.” During the drive, the state changed the petition so that it said instead, “Whoever commits election falsification is guilty of a felony of the 5th degree.” The party didn’t know about the wording change, and was shocked when it submitted the petition and Blackwell rejected it because of the wording.

In 2004, Blackwell rejected Ralph Nader’s independent petition because most of the signatures had been collected by people that perhaps were domiciled outside Ohio (although this was never resolved). At approximately the same time Blackwell rejected Nader’s petition, he waived the rules to allow an initiative petition to appear on the ballot even though its circulators had not been domiciled in Ohio.

Blackwell’s behavior kept Nader off the 2004 ballot, and kept the Libertarian Party off the 2004 ballot (although it qualified its presidential candidate as an independent). However, after the 2004 election was over, courts struck down the Ohio procedure for new parties to qualify, and struck down the Ohio law barring out-of-state circulators from working on an independent candidate petition, so Blackwell’s behavior was ultimately good for ballot access.

At Libertarian Party blog, Donny Ferguson writes,

Michael Steele named RNC chairman…

…and many limited-government types aren’t happy.  Prominent blogger Robert Bluey laid out his opposition to Steele’s chair bid in a Jan. 4 posting on

Bluey cites several factors as to why Steele is "the wrong man." Among them are his decision as GOPAC chair to make the group’s third-biggest expenditure a donation to his defunt campaign, mismanagement of his personal finances, his campaigning for politicians who promise to increase government spending, his refusal to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and his likely hiring of Republican National Senate Committee personnel who lost six seats in one cycle and spent $1.2 million on the unsuccessful re-election bid of Lincoln Chaffee.

In a Jan. 12 phone call to Bluey after the posting, Steele reiterated the fact he wants to give pro-government spending Republicans a greater role in the GOP, and stated he even quit one Republican organization after it campaigned for small-government candidates in Republican primaries.

Eric Dondero offers a dissenting opinion in BAN comments:

Michael Steele served as Lt. Governor under libertarian Republican Gov. Bob Erlich. Erlich was a hardcore budget hawk, fiscal conservative, and one of the Republican Party’s leading supports of marijuana decriminalization. Quite a libertarian fellow. And Steele holds very closely to his old boss’s views.

A bit of a stretch to say Michael Steele is a libertarian Republican, but friendly to the libertarian wing of the GOP, absolutely.

Posted to IPR by Paulie

13 thoughts on “Ballot Access News, Libertarian Party comment on new RNC Chair and a losing candidate for the job

  1. Eric Dondero

    Dissing Steele cause he supported Lincoln Chaffee for reelection to US Senate in Rhode Island? My gosh. I’m no fan of RINOs, but even I’ve got to admit, in a State like Rhode Island, you gotta take what you can get.

    I would have voted for Liberal Republican Chaffee over the Far Leftist Socialist Democrat that currently holds the seat.

    You can criticize Steele on a lot of fronts, but this one, is without standing.

  2. Steven R Linnabary

    Steele reiterated the fact he wants to give pro-government spending Republicans a greater role in the GOP, and stated he even quit one Republican organization after it campaigned for small-government candidates in Republican primaries.

    Now we know the direction of the republican party for the next few years. Not that there was any doubt in the past.

    I would think that my friend, Eric, would also see the writing on the wall. There is nothing redeemable about most republicans.

    I’ll defend the few that are out there, just as I will defend the few democrats that are redeemable.

    And really, it is embarrassing to see somebody defend the indefensible.


  3. Eric Dondero

    Hey, I’m just as Pro-Libertarian Party as the next guy, and a dues-paying member to boot.

    However, not a single Libertarian Party member was elected to a State Legislature or Congress in 2008. That’s not very inspiring.

    If you’re going to play in American politics, you gotta work with one of the majors or you’re just ignored.

  4. Eric Dondero

    Addendum: The State Chairman of the Republican Party of Rhode Island is a self-declared “libertarian.” And the State Chairman of the Libertarian Party is a self-declared “Republican.”

    That’s a fact. Check it out if you wish. (The LP Vice-Chair is a Republican, as well, as is the LP Treasurer.)

    How do I know? I petitioned for 2 weeks for the Rhode Island LP last summer to get Barr on the ballot. We were successful. I collected about 1/3rd of the toal sigs.

  5. paulie cannoli Post author

    Eric, who are these RI LP state officials?
    Do they have a website? Meetings? Contact information publicly posted anywhere?

    If they do, they haven’t informed LP national.

    Has contact information for one student at Brown. I think Witmer tried to get a hold of him, and I can’t remember the details but the guy said he is either not an LP member, or that he doesn’t actually run any active group, just agreed to be a contact, and doesn’t know of anyone else doing anything either. Possibly both.

    This has been the RI LP web page lined from national for many months – possibly a year, or more

    “This Site Is Under Construction and Coming Soon.

    This Domain Is Registered with Network Solutions”

    So, is there another website somewhere, or what’s going on up there with these supposed Libertarian Republicans?

  6. East Coast View

    Interesting blog you’ve got here. Relevantly, Michael Steele, born 1958, is a member of Generation Jones–the generation between the Boomers and GenXers–which has now taken over as America’s new leaders. Obama, and many in the team he has assembled, are Jonesers. The GOP is also now led by Jonesers, including Steele, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty and Mark Sanford. I’m a Joneser and totally relate to this identity, and all the recent big-time national media attention about Generation Jones. We’re not Boomers or Xers! I’ve read several articles recently that make a strong case for learning more about Generation Jones to grasp the changes we can expect now in politics and leadership.

    Steele embraces his Generation Jones identity, and speaks about the importance of the new Generation Jones leadership, in this short video:

    There is an op-ed about exactly this topic in USA TODAY this week: .

    I’m very curious to see what Steele’s early weeks at this new job will look like.

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