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LP Monday Message: Here’s how to Run for Office

Dear Friend of Liberty,

I want you to run for office.

You may have already responded to my call to run for office and asked me how to go about it. Don’t take it personally if I’ve failed to respond to any of your questions. I’m getting more and more emails, so the percentage of people I can respond to personally is going down. I need to give priority to questions from Libertarian National Committee members and Libertarian state chairs. Besides me, we just have three full-time staff members and three part-time staff, and they are doing their best to help.

Although we have a small staff, we’re busy organizing and re-engineering our processes to maximize our effectiveness with the resources you contribute.

Here’s a summary of how to run for office as a Libertarian:

1. Fill out this form. The form generates an email to your state party and puts you in our national candidate prospect database.

2. Contact your state party and local organizations by email or phone. State and local parties are your first means of support. Some states are more organized than others. Our national office will monitor state progress, and we will try to help out later as much as we can where gaps exist.

3. Try to find out the process from your state party for filing an official candidate application and getting onto the ballot. The process is different in every state. Also, what may take you ten hours to figure out on your own may take only ten minutes for a former candidate, so find former candidates and talk to them.

If there’s a race you can win, run for that office. Most Libertarian wins are in small jurisdictions where it takes less than 1,000 votes to win. I’m encouraging people who live in major cities, where winning is less feasible, to run for U.S. Congress. We don’t have the resources to run major national advertising campaigns, but if we put our candidates on the ballot, they will get some publicity (often free publicity) on their own. And they are in place in case a major backlash erupts against the Republicans and Democrats.

Right now, I want to see if you can contact your state party politely and efficiently to find out the process for getting onto the ballot. Please be respectful of their time. Keep in mind, our state party leaders are unpaid volunteers, and some are already pushed to the limit. Taking up too much of their time could prevent them from getting an additional candidate onto the ballot. I want you to contact them, but please don’t take an hour of their time expressing your views on world peace or Medicare.

The earliest deadline to file for U.S. Congress is in Texas (January 4, 2010). The deadline varies by state. It is several months later in some states.

Your mission is to get your name or help get someone else’s name listed here. (The list will be prettied up at some point.)

We post names as we receive approval from state chairs, so get started on the three steps above if you’re willing to run for office. America needs you now.


Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee


  1. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp November 16, 2009


    There’s an old book out there “How to Have Fun Losing Your Race for Congress” or something like that, by Gene Cisewski, that’s actually quite good on the technical details of how to get your hat in the ring, etc. Don’t know where to find it these days, though … I used to have a copy, but don’t know where it might have got off to.

  2. libertariangirl libertariangirl November 16, 2009

    i highly recommend getting Cato’s handbook for Congress . Soo awesome and helpful .

  3. Jeff Pedigo Jeff Pedigo November 16, 2009

    Does anyone have an instruction manual, “How To Run For Congress?”

  4. NewFederalist NewFederalist November 14, 2009

    Latham Sholes… if the link works it is very enlightening. If not, just type the phrase into a search engine. #6 above hit it!

  5. Don Lake, late at night Don Lake, late at night November 12, 2009

    Registering to vote, per the Modern Whig Party: don’t bother, they will lose the paper work!

  6. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes November 10, 2009

    When they see they can win for a change.

  7. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes November 10, 2009

    If the PLAS Experiment in Massachusetts in January, which should be pretty slow, succeeds, you can expect a rush of Green and Libertarian candidates to get on EVERY ballot asap. That is because of the Honor System-first candidate on the ballot gets recognition & support by BOTH sides.

  8. Typing Pool Teresa Typing Pool Teresa November 9, 2009

    Yes!! it was me!!

    Teresa from the typing pool!!!

    I said, and wrote it.

    I’ll be 87 years old April 1st.

    Richard Winger is my hero.

  9. Kimberly Wilder Kimberly Wilder November 9, 2009

    I could swear it was by a woman – some nameless, darned secretary from the 1950’s typing pool…


  10. NewFederalist NewFederalist November 9, 2009

    “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.” A quote by some famous dead guy. 😉

  11. Richard Winger Richard Winger November 9, 2009

    Ballot Access News has a link to a site that gives the 2010 primary date in each state here: Generally someone running in a primary needs to file between two months and four months before the primary date. Also, for independent candidates, and previously unqualified minor parties, those deadlines are in the printed Ballot Access News of November 1, 2009, and also the printed Ballot Access News of September 1, 2009. The September issue is posted but the November 1 one isn’t posted yet.

  12. HumbleTravis HumbleTravis November 9, 2009

    Is there a site that lists the various filing deadlines for each state?

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