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CA Libertarian Party Submits Nine Names for Meaningless Presidential Primary

Nine candidates vying for the Presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party in 2012 have been listed on the ballot in California’s Presidential primary. They are, in alphabetical order, Roger Gary, R. J. Harris, Gary Johnson, Scott Keller, James Ogle, Carl Person, Bill Still, Joy Waymire, and Lee Wrights.

Richard Winger points out that the primary occurs after the national convention has chosen the nominee, and thus loses much of its interest.

The Libertarian presidential primary might be deemed somewhat irrational, because the primary is not until June, and the party will have chosen its nominee in May.

The Libertarian Party didn’t use its presidential primary in California in 1980, 1984, and 1988, because the national convention was before the date of the California primary. In 1992, the only name listed on the Libertarian California presidential primary was Andre Marrou, who was already the nominee.

Starting in 1996, though, the Libertarian Party national conventions were later than the California primary, so the party started holding multi-candidate presidential primaries in California. In 1996, Harry Browne won the primary in a 4-way race and went on to be the nominee. In 2000, Browne won the 5-way California primary and again went on to be the nominee. In 2004, Gary Nolan won the California 3-way primary but was defeated for the party’s nomination at the convention. In 2008, Christine Smith won the 12-person primary but she was not nominated at the national convention.

Presumably, the winner of the primary will be the already-chosen nominee.

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Trent Hill


  1. James Clifton James Clifton January 15, 2012

    Everyone else might as well give it up. Gary Johnson will be the nominee.

  2. Richard Winger Richard Winger January 15, 2012

    Other states in which there could theoretically have been Libertarian presidential primaries if the state LP wanted them are Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.

    Missouri is printing up a Libertarian presidential primary ballot, but the only candidate who filed is James Ogle. In Ohio, no Libertarian filed because it required 500 signatures to get a candidate on the party’s primary ballot. In Mississippi and South Carolina the state parties would have needed to do lots of the work of administering the primaries. In Delaware, the petition requirement is so tough the party has never used its Delaware presidential primary.

  3. Steven R Linnabary Steven R Linnabary January 15, 2012

    Are there any Libertarian primaries this year?

    It would be interesting to see how our candidates will run their national campaigns by watching what they do in one or two primary states.


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