What’s new with the candidates seeking the Libertarian Presidential nomination

Here’s what I know about what has happened with the campaigns for the LP presidential nomination in the last few months:

Gary Johnson is now officially in the LP race. Since making that announcement on December 28, Johnson has held a birthday money bomb which netted over $40k and has been included in an ACLU civil liberties report card that compared him to President Obama and the Republican candidates. No other independent or alternative party candidates were included, except Buddy Roemer who is seeking both the Republican and Americans Elect nominations. Johnson did better from the ACLU’s viewpoint than any Democrat or Republican they compared him with. Johnson’s site mentions regional events coming up in the next few weeks, but I haven’t been able to figure out when or where exactly they will be.

Since Johnson has now entered the race, it appears that Wayne Root, previously considered a likely presidential contender, will not be running and will support Johnson instead. A number of people have speculated with varying degrees of certainty that Root will instead run for VP again, as he did in 2008.

Jim Duensing has confirmed that he is no longer running, but is instead working to help elect Ron Paul as the Republican presidential nominee. The last time I did one of these updates that was the rumor I heard, but at that time I was not able to confirm it.

RJ Harris has participated in several debates and state conventions. His site also lists some newspaper articles and interviews, radio interviews, etc. He appeared in a Veterans Day parade. Harris is finishing law school, thus is not able to campaign as much as he would like right now; I’ve heard second hand that he said he will be available full time starting in June. Harris has been involved in some controversy when people associated with his campaign put out some negative campaigning against Johnson. The attacks were not identified as coming from the Harris campaign, but were traced back to it because they were not adequately anonymized.

Lee Wrights has continued writing regular op-eds, visiting state LP conventions, and has now added video messages to his repertoire. He has been in several debates with the other candidates.

Carl Person continues to visit state and local LP meetings, and his site lists a busy schedule of such visits coming up. His campaign suffered several setbacks in the last few months. At one point he said he favors legalizing bestiality. Although he later said he does not want to focus on that issue, his former campaign manager Dr. Tom Stevens continues to make an issue of it, as well as Person’s support for state banks in every state. Several months ago, Person was issuing press releases on a daily basis. As far as I can tell, that has stopped and he has not sent anything out in months. Person also at one point appeared to have offered to pay the airfare of delegates who would support him to the national convention, but later qualified that this only applied to a small number of people he knew personally.

Roger Gary has also continued appearing in some debates and state conventions, but it is not easy to know exactly which ones, since his listing of those on his site – buried in a sub-menu under media – was last updated in May 2011. He did recently put out a press release about Gary Johnson’s entry into the LP race. Before that, his last press release was several months ago, about his communication director addressing college classes, and before that it was a piece about the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

LP newcomer Bill Still has been in a few debates and conventions. He has a following outside the LP, but I’m not aware of any significant efforts to get them signed up as LP members and delegates and get them to the national convention. Nor have I heard of mailings to past delegates by this campaign thus far, as far as I can remember. It is possible that such efforts are happening without my knowledge, or just haven’t happened yet but will. If not, Still may have a hard time competing against long time LP activists and (former) elected official(s).

Robert Milnes, who was also running for the BTP nomination, suffered a setback when he got only one vote for that nomination (presumably his own). He believes that there was some sort of internet sabotage, since his website went down that day and several weeks’ worth of updates disappeared. Milnes continues to update his site with conspiracy theories, tales of his personal travails, and responses to IPR comments.

I am not aware of anything new with the campaigns of Jim Burns, Dave Redick, James Ogle or Miss Joy Waymire.

The Libertarian Party of NM blog also lists several candidates I had not heard of until now – Ralph Allen Beach, Ronald Keith Hebert, and Shawn James Hogan, all filed with the FEC.

Rumors continue to swirl that Jesse Ventura and/or Ron Paul might seek the LP nomination, and Ventura has been in touch with LP national chair Mark Hinkle to discuss the possibility, while Paul has refused to rule out a race outside the GOP. However, at this stage either of them actually seeking the LP nomination is only rumors and speculation.

Additional information about the activities of any of these candidates, and any that I may have missed, welcome in the comments.

75 thoughts on “What’s new with the candidates seeking the Libertarian Presidential nomination

  1. AnthonyD.

    Please no Jesse Ventura. His conspiracy baggage would weigh him (and the LP) down even worse than the Paul Newsletters.

  2. Brian Holtz

    They should double Paulie’s pay for quality reporting like this. 🙂

    I agree that Crazy Car on the LP train doesn’t have any spare room for Ventura’s conspiracy baggage.

    Given that Ruwart reportedly turned down Barr’s offer of a VP endorsement, I wonder whether Wrights would even agree to run as Johnson’s VP. Roger Gary seems the least unlikely of the current field to end up in the VP slot, but I would be surprised if the GJ campaign didn’t end up recruiting a VP candidate from outside the current field.

  3. AnthonyD.

    Brian @ 6,

    I’m with you on GJ’s potential VP. Almost certainly be someone from outside the current field.

  4. Thomas L. Knapp

    BH@6,

    “Given that Ruwart reportedly turned down Barr’s offer of a VP endorsement, I wonder whether Wrights would even agree to run as Johnson’s VP.”

    An interesting question, but the “given/wonder” setup seems to be a bit of a non sequitur. Wrights isn’t Ruwart, and Johnson isn’t Barr.

  5. Q2Q

    I think the best VP for Gary Johnson is Carl Person, for the following reasons:

    1) Carl came in a strong third in the NY AG race, winning over a hundred thousand votes.

    2) He’s a successful businessman and lawyer.

    3) Ideologically, I think Carl is more compatible with Mr. Johnson than any other candidate.

  6. Catholic Trotskyist

    James Ogle is continuing with the US Parliament project. He ran for vice-president of the BTP but withdrew before the runoff. He has told me that he is recruiting Waymire into the US Parliament project, and that he will be appearing at the California LP state convention. I hope it’s ok to mention US Parliament in this context, since he is an LP presidential candidate and the Us Parliament is a big part of his campaign. He is also considering running for the Green and Constitution Party nominations and developing a fusion campaign.

  7. Stewart Flood

    @4: A “Gary/Gary” ticket, perhaps? That would really confuse the media…

    I echo the sentiments above in various comments. This appears to be an accurate synopsis of current events, written with little or no visible bias for or against any specific candidate. Excellent work!

  8. Richard Winger

    #14, Carl Person did not get over 100,000 votes for Attorney General of New York in 2010. He got 36,547 votes.

    He showed bad judgment in 2006, when he filed a pro se lawsuit against New York state’s law banning paying circulators on a per-signature basis. He lost, and then he appealed to the 2nd circuit, and lost again, in a reported decision, which is a bad precedent. Back in 2006 he was not in the Libertarian Party.

  9. Darryl W. Perry

    @14 I think Carl is more compatible with Mr. Johnson than any other candidate.

    To my knowledge, Gary Johnson has never allowed a campaign manager to issue press releases stating his support for bestiality and follow-up PR with endorsements from “zoosexuals” before firing the campaign manager (who is also the Presidential nominee of another party).

  10. Jose C.

    Harris has been involved in some controversy when people associated with his campaign put out some negative campaigning against Johnson. The attacks were not identified as coming from the Harris campaign, but were traced back to it because they were not adequately anonymized.

    I would hope this would not be controversial. As a matter of fact I applaud it. If RJ Harris wants to be the nominee he should explain why he should be the nominee and Gary Johnson should not.

    As a potential delegate and as a member I would hope and I expect all candidates seeking the nomination for President of the Libertarian Party to explain why they should be the nominee and Gary Johnson should not. If those seeking the nomination cannot criticize Gary Johnson how can they be expected to criticize the Republican nominee or President Obama. There is no reason Gary Johnson should get a free pass. Though some my wish it Gary Johnson is not royalty that deserves a coronation.

  11. Andy

    This is the best that the Libertarian Party has to offer for 2012?!?!?!?!? If so, we’re screwed.

  12. ATBAFT

    No, compared to this crew, GJ is royalty. I bet if Clint Eastwood or Penn Teller were interested, there would be little to no vetting of their views on every obscure issue under the sun. Sure, GJ could be using us but then we’re using him too.

  13. paulie Post author

    They should double Paulie’s pay for quality reporting like this.

    My pay gets doubled every time I post an article.

    Same as everyone else who’s signed up to write here 🙂

  14. paulie Post author

    I would hope this would not be controversial. As a matter of fact I applaud it. If RJ Harris wants to be the nominee he should explain why he should be the nominee and Gary Johnson should not.

    Certainly he should.

    I for one would hope that he would so in a way that highlights what he sees as his own good points rather than merely attacking what he sees as Johnson’s bad points.

    My read on it was that much of the controversy was about Harris not standing behind the attacks; we only learned that they came from his campaign because they did not do a good enough job of concealing it.

  15. AnthonyD.

    ATBAFT @ 25,

    No vetting on Clint Eastwood , I agree there. Not so sure about Penn Teller. Presenting an atheist as our candidate would be a problem for me, and I am an atheist.

  16. paulie Post author

    an atheist as our candidate would be a problem for me

    It’s not a problem for me, but it’s a problem if they use the campaign to evangelize atheism, much as it would be a problem for me if someone used the campaign to evangelize their religion.

  17. Steve LaBianca

    Gosh, Gary Johnson is a nice guy . . . nothing like the nastiness that continuously spews out of W.A.R.’s mouth.

    Though nobody has asked for it, my suggestion would be for Johnson to kindly ask W.A.R. to cease and desist from vocalizing any support for him!

    NOTE: Unless Johnson moves to a “stronger” libertarian stance, I will not be supporting him.

  18. Darryl W. Perry

    CommonTater – you’re slightly misrepresenting what Tiffany Briscoe said. She added that she believes bestiality is un-natural and should also be condemned; though it should not be a federal issue.

  19. ctomp

    Anything written or posted by Stevens is suspect as far as I am concerned, even it were to support the Coperncian view of the heavens. He puts a decided stink on things. I hope Briscoe or any other candidate would choose to stay clear of him.

  20. Andy

    “No, compared to this crew, GJ is royalty.”

    I don’t consider Gary Johnson to be a good candidate for the Libertarian Party either.

  21. ctomp

    In 2008, there was Heartland Libertarian conference in Kansas City where the presidential candidates participated in a debate. Does anyone know if something similiar will be repeated this spring?

  22. Darryl W. Perry

    @CommonTater – I did not notice that you posted only the headline. In that case, Dr. Stevens misrepresented her comments in the headline.
    “Let me be clear. I strongly believe bestiality is anti-natural. But if an individual wants to engage him or herself into such an activity, it is entirely up to this individual. I condemn all anti-bestiality laws, just like I condemn bestiality itself.

  23. Common Tater

    No doubt Stevens spun the issue, but she did say she condemns anti-bestiality laws.

    I’d say they are in the category of laws against cruelty to animals. I wouldn’t go so far to say that any type of bestiality is legally the same as rape among humans, but animals can’t give verifiable consent, and they are not just inanimate objects.

    Zoofreaks claim that sexual arousal is prima facie evidence of consent. The same claim is employed by rapists.

  24. Common Tater

    In 2008, there was Heartland Libertarian conference in Kansas City where the presidential candidates participated in a debate. Does anyone know if something similiar will be repeated this spring?

    Nothing like that by May in events listings at LP.org

    LSLA usually had been in the spring, but last year it was in August and no LSLA is listed on or before May this year.

  25. paulie Post author

    Via email:

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: The Political Group
    Date: Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 5:16 PM
    Subject: Resignation from RJ Harris
    To: The Political Group

    The Political Group is stepping down from the RJ Harris Campaign. We
    have led the campaign from many fronts and are now stepping down
    because of our disagreement with the campaign’s strategy moving
    forward. We appreciate the competition your campaigns presented and
    hope the best for everyone involved. 2012 will be a very special year
    for Libertarians. If you have any questions please contact us.

    We do currently have complete details of Libertarian Donors,
    Delegates, State LP Leadership (Emails & Phones), Polling Data
    (Delegates), Mailing Lists & Phone Lists (Libertarian National & State
    Donors, Ron Paul Donors and various PAC Info), Voter Data & History
    for all 50 states, and winning strategies yet to have been utilized
    with the RJ Harris Campaign.

    Thanks,

    Frank Carrasco
    Senior Advisor, Strategist, Pollster
    http://www.ThePoliticalGroup.com
    Leader in Campaign Strategy
    info@thepoliticalgroup.com

    202.470.0150 Washington
    210.209.9225 San Antonio

  26. just saying

    Ventura has been in touch with LP national chair Mark Hinkle to discuss the possibility

    Sounds to me that, per the LP bylaws, Gov. Ventura has expressed an interest in the nomination and could be nominated by the convention in absentia if need be.

  27. paulie Post author

    Discussing options in a personal conversation with the national chair is not the same thing as declaring a willingness to run.

    Also, I don’t believe Ventura would be nominated in absentia even if he did declare such willingness. Ron Paul, I believe, could do it without showing up, but Ventura would have to be there in person if he wants to have a chance – and even then it is far from guaranteed, although I think he would be competitive.

  28. AnthonyD.

    paulie @ 30,

    I guess I might go a little further than you. Even if an atheist Libertarian Presidential candidate did not evangelize his nonfaith, the polls in this country are pretty clear that voters will not cast ballots for atheists (for President). As idiotic as that is, I would chose not to swim against the tide there. If nominating someone who is nominally religious means a quicker path to, say, legalized marijuana, then lets nominate the nominally religious.

    Then again, I’d say the same thing about nominating someone who prefers New York strip steaks in a nation that has some unfounded fear of people who like strip steaks.

  29. Thomas L. Knapp

    AnthonyD@46,

    The polls are pretty clear that voters will not cast ballots for candidates with the label “Libertarian” next to their names on the ballot.

    While a campaign about atheism would be silly and counter-productive, a Libertarian candidate who’s avowedly atheist — not in everyone’s face with it 24/7, but lets it get out there and is honest about it when asked — might actually do better than usual.

  30. just saying

    @45 — Discussing options in a personal conversation with the national chair is not the same thing as declaring a willingness to run.

    No, it is not the same thing as “declaring” a candidacy, but it certainly is “express[ing] a willingness to accept,” which is all the bylaws require.

  31. Wesley T. Feinstein

    How do you know he expressed that? Maybe he just asked questions…or said he is thinking about it.

    Put it in writing or a youtube, then we talk.

    Anyway, he isn’t as famous as Ron Paul, so if he wants the nomination he’ll probably need to campaign.

    MAYBE he’ll beat Johnson then – maybe not.

  32. George Phillies

    @49 @49 is correct: He actually had to say he would accept, not discuss the possibility. And after the matter of the building (non)-pledges, there would need to be solid evidence of the expression.

  33. Robert Capozzi

    Apparently, Jesse Ventura and Pete Stark are atheists. My guess is, for L candidates, the subject almost never comes up. I’d be surprised if it were a plus in most jurisdictions, but stranger things have happened…

  34. Nominate Dr. Ron Paul to be the 2012 Libertarian Party POTUS Candidate !

    Jesse said he would run with Ron Paul. He might have been testing Mr. Hinkle’s reception (reaction) to his call. Again Jessie did not say he would be the VP with Dr.Paul but that he was interested in a run with Dr. Paul. I saw a votesmart or something else that had Jessie landing in the south southeast area of the L quad of the Nolan Chart. Yes fully in the quad, not near 100/100 but neither is a majority of dues payers IMO at 100/100.

    A good laugh is nice, however I thought this animal cornholing had ran it’s course, can we please move on? I intend to enjoy the best LP POTUS showing in history. Let’s let the fruitcake also rans and their fruitcake ideas remain “backstage” if you will, thanks. Maybe we “L”(“l”)s for once can all have a good laugh at the LPs successful vote totals this year.

  35. johncjackson

    Does Gary Johnson have a religion? I’ve never seen it discussed and I’ve never even thought about it.. because it doesn’t matter.

  36. johncjackson

    And.. does Tom Stevens fuck animals? Why is he obsessed with this issue? Wasn’t he supposed to be “managing” a campaign and insisted on making that an issue? And ever since then everything from him is about animals. What a sick fuck.

  37. Lavra

    “Johnson’s site mentions regional events coming up in the next few weeks, but I haven’t been able to figure out when or where exactly they will be.”

    They’ll be online townhalls using Yowie.com, each region getting their own day/timeslot. The info for those has finally been posted at garyjohnson2012.com and Facebook.com/GovGaryJohnson.

  38. Common Tater

    Lavra @ 56 Thanks for the update.

    I also notice there that Johnson is doing quite a few radio interviews and I believe Harris is doing a few, but not as many. How about Wrights, Gary or any of the other candidates?

  39. Here's a radical idea

    Love him, like him, dislike him, or hate him, there is a lot to learn watching the Gary Johnson campaign and how they go about the business. Could be used for future candidates at various levels.

  40. Pingback: What’s new with the candidates seeking the Libertarian Presidential nomination | ThirdPartyPolitics.us

  41. Johnson/Ventura '12

    Gary Johnson is a Lutheran. Personally, Wayne Root would be a terrible choice for VP. I can’t stand the guy and he’s a loan shark in Vegas, he’s scum. Jesse Ventura was a successful governor in Minnesota, if people are worried about his conspiracy stuff, I get it but Johnson goes on whack-job Alex Jones’ show as do others. Gary Johnson needs to get a VP that has experience as a mayor, governor, congress-person or senator. You need a ticket with substance. Bob Barr would’ve made sense now, if he didn’t run before but he screwed himself with that crap ticket of Wayne Root, it was terrible. Gary Johnson’s campaign advisers should look at acting Libertarian mayor’s right now since they have executive experience in politics.

  42. Jeremy C. Young

    From what I’ve seen, that bit of information @43 spells the end of the Harris campaign as a continuing threat for the LP nomination. Frank Carrasco’s group did fantastic work for Harris on a shoestring budget ($4,000 total last time I saw). They built him a professional website, conducted a poll of delegates, and provided him with a strategy that rocketed him to the top of the announced candidates around the end of October. Other LP candidates should think seriously about hiring Carrasco for their own campaigns.

  43. Nominate Dr. Ron Paul to be the 2012 Libertarian Party POTUS Candidate !

    @43 and 62 “We do currently have complete details of Libertarian Donors,
    Delegates, State LP Leadership (Emails & Phones), Polling Data
    (Delegates), Mailing Lists & Phone Lists (Libertarian National & State
    Donors, Ron Paul Donors and various PAC Info), Voter Data & History
    for all 50 states, and winning strategies yet to have been utilized…”

    FYI – me-glad to see candidates using pros, however if Mr. Carrasco’s group is gathering these “Donors List” from FEC lists they are in deep dodo with the Federal Gov. and that’s something no one needs. It’s illegal to copy FEC donor lists for solicitation purposes.

    “Banned” Commercial: Ron Paul 2012 (Unofficial) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2rMnov4Ae8&NR=1&feature=endscreen

  44. Thomas L. Knapp

    @63,

    No, it is not illegal to copy FEC donor lists for solicitation purposes.

    It’s illegal to use FEC lists as solicitation lists.

    There’s a difference.

    If I just go to — for example — Ron Paul’s list of donors on the FEC site and start contacting the people on it, I’m breaking the law.

    But I can certainly use those FEC lists to verify information I got from other sources, and to add to that information.

    For example, if I have a list of just names who “donated to X,” that it’s perfectly OK for me to use to raise funds, there’s nothing at all to stop me from going to X’s FEC report and getting addresses to go with those names, or winnowing down the list to just contact those who donated more than $500, or whatever.

  45. George Phillies

    @63 Ron Paul published in press releases the names and locations of tens of thousands of his 2008 donors.

    @62 Harris’s belief that he was leading in Ocober is described by the phrase ‘a legend in his own mind’.

  46. Robert Capozzi

    68 nf, JV did say publicly he’d like to be RP’s running mate. GJ is in some ways the next best thing to RP.

    I remain highly ambivalent on JV as the LP’s VP nominee. He’s certainly interesting, telegenic, articulate, and credentialed. I’m not sure he’s a L in the sense that I’m not sure his interest in politics is to maximize liberty and to minimize coercion…his guv record suggests a mixed record, as I recall. And now his being a conspiracy theorist makes me lean against him on the ticket.

    Generally, VP candidates have to curb their own agenda and accede to the prez’s, so maybe it could work…dunno…

  47. Webley Thurston Fowler

    “What would make you believe Ventura would run for veep with Johnson?”

    If anything it would be the other way around. Johnson is not as well known as Ventura.

    “GJ is in some ways the next best thing to RP.”

    LOL, not even close.

    ” I’m not sure he’s a L in the sense that I’m not sure his interest in politics is to maximize liberty and to minimize coercion…”

    His quiz results and rhetoric are libertarian.

    OTOH I seem to recall his rhetoric was more libertarian when he ran for governor than his record was as governor, as well.

  48. NewFederalist

    WTF @70… My point exactly. I have heard that Ventura has said he would run for veep with Ron Paul but I have never heard that he would consider being #2 to anyone else. I was just asking the poster @ #61 for additional information if he or she has any.

  49. Webley Thurston Fowler

    @71

    None.

    Ventura is closer in name recognition, but he’s far from being in Ron Paul’s league and Johnson is even further.

    Ventura offered to run with Ron Paul because there is at least some chance that Ron Paul would run a competitive campaign, get in debates, and (still unlikely, but at least somewhat plausible) even win.

    Johnson may, if he is very, very lucky, break the 1%/million vote barrier, but he isn’t going to be a real factor in the race, even with Ventura as a VP candidate.

    And if Ventura wants to run, why run for VP and not President? He is better known than Johnson and could probably beat him.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    73 wtf, I agree that name rec would be RP, JV and GJ in that order. When JV said he’d like to run with RP, I don’t recall any particular rationale, other than his fear of the nation’s direction.

    In my estimation, if JV is at all self-reflective, he should recognize that he’s not presidential timber. He should recognize that he’s more the gadfly. As a VP candidate, though, he could play the attack dog on a ticket…his highest and best use.

    The top of the ticket should be the cool cucumber. RP runs a bit hot sometimes. GJ is more consistently cool, Zenned out, even….

  51. Pingback: Al Jazeera Profiles Alternative Party Presidential Candidates Lee Wrights, Rocky Anderson, Jill Stein and Jack Fellure | Independent Political Report

  52. Pingback: Update on Candidates Seeking 2012 LP Presidential Nomination | Independent Political Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *