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Oregon Libertarians Announce First Statewide Primary Election

Libertarian Party of Oregon
PO Box 1099
Wilsonville, Oregon 97070

Contact: Bruce A. Knight, LPO Secretary
503-774-3832 <>

For the first time in Oregon, all registered Libertarian voters can take part in a statewide primary election to nominate their candidates for office. All approximately 13,000 members should receive an announcement the Libertarian Party of Oregon mailed this week.

Until this year, the party chose its nominees in conventions, usually attended by a few dozen members.

“Eliminating the travel barrier, the mail ballot will boost participation dramatically,” state chairperson Wes Wagner said, “and will get far more Libertarians into the general election this fall.

”With statewide ballot access since 1980, Oregon Libertarians can run for 16 state Senate and all 60 state House seats, Oregon Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and all five US congressional seats.

“We’re working to fill all 84 of those slots,” Wagner said, “plus local partisan offices. More voters than ever disapprove of the major parties, and we will offer a better choice.

”The Libertarian ballot, to be held in June, will not be tax-funded like the major party primaries. “We’re relying on voluntary funding from regular people who believe in liberty and responsibility. Folks putting their money where their mouths are, to make Oregon a better place for their kids and grandkids,”

Wagner said.The June instant-runoff ballot will also give Libertarians a yes-or-no option to ratify new party rules. The Libertarian Party will nominate candidates for President and Vice President at its national convention in Las Vegas, May 2-6.

The LPO urges voters to log into for more information, and to nominate themselves for office in their districts by returning an enclosed form.

The interactive website features announced candidates, user forums, party news and documents, political links, and social utilities. Primary voters who include a private personal identification number on their ballots will be able to verify on-line that their own ballots were recorded properly, without compromising the confidentiality of their votes.

“We’re going all out to make this primary more secure and more transparent than the tax-funded ones,” Wagner said. “The instant-runoff rules will be posted on-line, and the ballot opening and sorting will be open to well-behaved observers.

“Our goal, above and beyond the elections, is protecting the peaceful exercise of individual rights. Voters want more honesty and integrity in candidates and their parties, and it’s up to Libertarians to set a better example.”


About Post Author

Jill Pyeatt

Jill Pyeatt is a small-business owner and jewelry designer from Southern California. She currently serves on the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party of CA. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Rondo aka Ron Boozell Rondo aka Ron Boozell May 7, 2012

    REVISIONIST HISTORY is what they call the Truth when you find out that they lied to you as a kid in public school about what -really- happened.

  2. Rondo aka Ron Boozell Rondo aka Ron Boozell May 7, 2012

    I have never attacked Mr. Burke. How dramatic. I have simply keep alive the truth, and will continue every time I hear his name.

    Quite fortunate for him that he has never actually been in my sights. He has one of the worst reputations among active “libertarians”, but I just don’t have the time to be sucked into his petty little game.

    Burke however, has been unfortunate to have stepped into the sandtrap that is Wes Wagner, and his friends. I certainly enjoy watching the slow sinking and demise of him and his so-called MLC.

    My accusations of his theft and lies are well known and documented within the LPO. I am not upset. I am laughing out loud.

    He is the coup that never really happened. At the end of his days, his accomplishment remembered will only be that he caused division between good libertarians for his own purposes and his own stomach.

    By the way, he fails to mention that the campaigns he ran for his “libertarian” candidates always avoided the word libertarian whenever possible. Even the signs and promotional material did not identify his candidates as libertarians.

    I am not interested in a label. Putting an (L) behind my name is not as important as supporting real libertarian policies. Burke and his candidates have always been distinctively pro-Republican policy.

    Let’s talk to Tom Cox and find out how libertarian he is, who is now asking the Republicans to be their write-in candidate.

    I left the LP four years ago because of pretenders like Burke and Barr and Cox to focus on local community action. I was tired of wasting my time battling Burke and his political bullshit.

    Today I am much more effective in my community, and I never look back.

    Onward and upward!

  3. Alan Pyeatt Alan Pyeatt April 19, 2012

    No George, that is not revisionist history, that is propaganda.

    Do you also criticize Albert Einstein’s revisionist physics, or Sir Isaac Newton’s revisionist mathematics? Revisionism is the process of improving our understanding, not covering up the truth.

  4. George Phillies George Phillies April 19, 2012

    “Revisionist history is a process of improving our understanding of past events, based on new information and better analysis”

    Sometimes. And sometimes it’s rewriting like mad to make people overlook that your country’s founding father was really really fond of 12 year old girls, and in that other country the leadership got their jollies out of flogging slaves. [I did not identify these countries.]

  5. Alan Pyeatt Alan Pyeatt April 19, 2012

    “But it is dishonest to suggest that I was undermining the LP by engaging in revisionist history.”

    Not trying to hijack the thread, but a lot of people need to have a better understanding of what revisionist history is. Revisionist history is a process of improving our understanding of past events, based on new information and better analysis. Trying to deceive people about past events is not revisionist history, it’s just plain lying.

    FWIW, I wish there were some way we could deal with the Oregon LP situation at the convention. What’s going on in Oregon has implications for our entire party, and at this point, I would trust a convention of delegates to deal with the situation much more than our representatives on the LNC (especially when it appears that some of those representatives may have contributed to the current cluster-fuck). And I sure as HELL don’t trust the Oregon Secretary of State’s office or a court to resolve the situation fairly.

    That’s not intended to be a criticism of the Wagner faction’s strategy; I would just like to see LIBERTARIANS resolve an internal matter in the most decentralized, self-governing way possible.

  6. Wes Wagner Wes Wagner April 19, 2012

    On the upside… our primary announcement seems to have started hitting mailboxes today!

  7. Richard P. Burke Richard P. Burke April 19, 2012

    Mr Reale,

    Like you, I find it sad that the LPO’s current problem has landed us in litigation. As an LPO member, there are other things I would rather be involved with. But your pose leaves out two things:

    1. The litigation currently underway did not spontaneously appear – it resulted from Mr. Wagner and his group attempting to pull a coup by purportedly changing our governing documents outside of convention without notice, electing officers to new terms of office in a manner that violates our governing documents, cancelling a convention session properly ordered by members assembled in convention, and then attempting to co-opt the force of the state to back those actions.

    Are you OK with that? If you are, than we don’t have a lot to talk about – knowingly and brazenly violating governing documents passed in convention, and then looking to the state for cover, is not very libertarian. If you’re not OK with it, you might do well to ask Mr. Wagner and his group why they would attempt such a coup that they had to know would illicit a response.

    If Wagner is successful, it means that whoever might be listed as the “Chair of Record” with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office has complete power and can do anything at will including the drafting of governing documents, the listing of officers, and possibly the nomination of candidates – despite what happens at conventions or other venues expressing the will of the members. None of us should be OK with that.

    Richard P. Burke

  8. Wes Wagner Wes Wagner April 19, 2012

    NS @14

    You can rightfully add Esquire after his name … at least for the State of Connecticut. Not sure were else he holds a license.

  9. Nicholas Sarwark Nicholas Sarwark April 19, 2012

    It sounds like Dan @13 has some experience with the legal system.

  10. Dan Reale Dan Reale April 18, 2012

    Mr. Burke,

    I was hoping that your faction and Wes’ faction would understand that a lawsuit would be the biggest obstacle to electing Libertarians in office in the state of Oregon this year.

    Whoever is right or wrong (and I’ve been very neutral about this because I’d rather both sides came to the table), I made it damn clear that a lawsuit would drag out for months, cost tens of thousands of dollars and be analogous to fighting with hand grenades in the basement. I make every attempt to assume good intentions on both sides. I appeal to both in stating the facts here.

    The only winners of the lawsuit (especially right now in this year, 2012, during election season) will be the attorneys.

    This isn’t Law and Order where the event happens week one, the suit is filed on week two and the trial happens on week three. If Law and Order were remotely accurate or reflective of reality, most of the season would consist of a paralegal behind a keyboard or a photocopier. It would be slower than a parade of snails on qualuudes.

    You’re lucky to have a trial before August and appellate arguments by January. Logistically, you are behind every petition for habeas corpus, murder trial, death row inmate and grandma on life support.

    It appears that only one faction understood this — and it wasn’t yours.

  11. Richard P. Burke Richard P. Burke April 18, 2012

    Mr. Wilson and Mr. Boozell,

    It amazes me that you frequently accuse me of being Republican despite the fact that I have frequently managed Libertarian campaigns that Republicans publicly stated cost them elections. Specifically T0m Cox for governor in 2002, Dan Wilson 1994, Tom Cox again for state legislature in 2004, and Mitch Shults in 2000. When I ran for governor in 1998 I attacked the Republican constantly. As Executive Director I laid a press release on the desk of every Republican state legislator threatening that Libertarian fiscal conservative candidates would challenge them if they voted for a $1.2B tax bill, for which I was banned from the House floor by then Republican House Speaker Karen Minnis.

    I doubt if any of the Republicans in those races or Speaker Minnis would agree that I am some sort of Republican plant. Your argument would be more credible if you called me a Democrat plant, but would be just as silly.

    Mr/ Boozell accuses me of being a “Republican refugee”. Voter registration records from 1990 will show that I was a registered Democrat before I re-registered as a Libertarian, and I have been a registered Libertarian since that time. I know for a fact that Mr. Boozell cannot say the same. I Mr. Boozell was thrown off by the fact that I sometimes wear suits. 😉

    Ron Boozell’s financial charges against me are hogwash, and such were the findings of an oversight committee created by the State Committee to go over party finances while I was the LPO’s Executive Director. Ron’s just upset that he didn’t get a lifetime membership for which nobody at the LPO or national LP offices could find any evidence that he paid for, evidence that nobody has produced to date.

    More interesting is that both Wilson and Boozell attack ME rather than the ISSUES I raise, which might attest to the weakness of their position. If Wagner’s group loses the case, there is a risk that the nominations his mail ballot produces could be regarded as illegitimate and thrown out. Not because of me or anyone else in the LP, Knapp’s apparent naivete notwithstanding, but because the LPO litigation is in the public record and people from both major parties are aware of it. You don’t think that some of the lawyers working with political parties and major party candidates don’t read the court dockets in Clackamas county or have access to the Internet? Jeez…

    Boozell is right about one thing, though. When I appear in a visible way on a controversial issue, I sometimes inadvertently offer my opponents a rallying post around which to organize. Anyone who has been at the center of series of controversial issues over 20 years will tends to pick up a lot of opponents as well as allies. I am no different. For this very reason I plan to significantly lower my profile in the LPO once the current row in Oregon is resolved. Those who have been my opponents will have to find new targets, people who have not been in the center of controversial issues for 20 years. Doing so will just make them look mean and will tend to repel people rather than attract them. I have become a believer in political jujitsu and am looking forward to practicing it.

    Richard P. Burke

  12. Rondo aka Ron Boozell Rondo aka Ron Boozell April 18, 2012

    It is -amazing- that you have the nerve to use the word “legitimate” in public Mr. Burke.

    You came to the LP as a Republican Refugee and divided the Party with your lies and manipulations.

    We will never forget that you stole from members by collecting membership fees that you never honored, and without our permission almost daily used the Party Credit Card to feed yourself at Starbucks and McDonalds.

    You are a fraud and a thief Mr. Burke. So many of your friends and allies have turned on you and even after years, are still willing to tell their stories.

    Keep raising your head. It makes an easy target.

  13. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp April 18, 2012

    Hmmm. I expected Capozzi to blow his stack there.

    When he fantasizes that the Wagnerians might threaten the LP’s ballot access in Oregon, he goes ballistic.

    When Burke openly announces that that’s exactly what he’s doing … silence.

  14. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson April 17, 2012

    Horse manure. Both of us know what your real motivation was and you got caught. Nothing more and nothing less. In my opinion you are the biggest Republican in the LPO and have been for years.

  15. Richard P. Burke Richard P. Burke April 17, 2012


    In answer to your question, I would suspect that Libertarian candidates nominated for public office in accordance with the legitimate 2009 LPO Bylaws would be vulnerable to challenge if Wagner’s bylaws and officer list is found to be legitimate. For this reason, we are telling people about the conflict so they go into the situation with their eyes open.

    Richard P. Burke

  16. Richard P. Burke Richard P. Burke April 17, 2012


    Wrong on all counts.

    Back in ’94 – 16 YEARS AGO – Libertarian Vander Ploeg was NEVER to endorse Republican Smith. In the joint press conference, which benefitted Vander Ploeg FAR more than Smith, Vander Ploeg was to say that he still wanted everyone’s vote – but that people who could not vote for him should vote for Smith. That is far from an endorsement, since he remained in the race and still appealed for everyone’s vote. Smith would simply be his second choice – after himself. Not an endorsement. That conference got Vander Ploeg more press than anything else he did except for the Voters’ Pamphlet.

    In ’96 I supported NOTA over Libertarian Richard Johnson because I didn’t think that Johnson would be a good candidate for the LPO, because I thought that effort spent on that race would weaken other more viable LP campaigns, and because if we could be perceived as tilting the Witt/Furse matchup torward Republican Witt in ’96 after being perceived to tilt the same matchup toward Democrat Furse in ’94 (a campaign I managed), we would be seen as more politically relevant without having to dilute our financial and volunteer base.

    Disagree with the strategy? Fine. But it is dishonest to suggest that I was undermining the LP by engaging in revisionist history. I know you see those events through some sort of bizarre prism colored by whatever it is that motivates you, but all of this is documented.

    Regardless, neither the ’94 Vander Ploeg or ’96 Johnson races have any bearing on what is going on now. The fact that you might bring it up in this context might indicate to some that you essentially have no argument.

    State law says that candidate nominations need to be made in accordance with legitimate party bylaws. If Wagner’s bylaws are found to be illegitimate, it stands to reason that any nominations made according to those bylaws would be vulnerable to challenge. And given the court case is public record, and almost certainly being followed by someone in each of the major parties, I would be very nervous if I were a candidate nominated under Wagner’s bylaws in a competitive legislative or statewide race.

    Richard P. Burke

    Richard P. Burke

  17. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt Post author | April 17, 2012

    Richard, what will happen to your group if the Wagner faction is found to be the “legitimate” group?

  18. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson April 17, 2012

    Holly Crap Burke! Of all the people I find it humorous that you would be complaining.

    You are the one who wanted Dan vander Ploeg, the Libertarian candidate for governor to endorse the Republican candidate. You are the one person who tried to keep a candidate off the ballot in 1996 to support your friend the Republican candidate running for Congress. Those are just two of a number of questionable actions on your part. And there is a bucket load more.

  19. Richard P. Burke Richard P. Burke April 17, 2012


    If it is ruled that Mr. Wagner and his associated improperly attempted to change the LPO’s governing documents, any candidates “nominated” by their vote-by-mail system could be disqualified from appearing on the ballot on the grounds that the nominations were not made by legitimate means. The current conflict taking place in Oregon is public knowledge, and a Republican or Democrat thinking that a Libertarian candidate might tilt the vote against them could easily challenge a Libertarian nominee who was not nominated in accordance with the LPO’s legitimate governing documents, which state law requires us to follow.

    If a ruling on this conflict comes down in time, the legitimate LPO could hold a legitimate nominating convention before the general election filing deadline for the purpose of legitimately nominating the winners of Wagner’s process. If it does not come in time, the LP could wind up with no candidates on the Oregon general election ballot.

    I think it is unfortunate that Wagner sent a fundraising appeal to some Libertarians in hopes of financing his mail ballot without providing them with details of the conflict, and without telling them that the legitimacy of the rules under which their proposed mail ballot is to be conducted are in question.

    The legitimate LPO State Committee has scheduled candidate nominating convention for May and June, and any prospective nominees will be informed of the situation. LPO members have already been appraised.

    It should also be remembered that the legitimate LPO Bylaws have provisions for mail ballots. There is no rule I can find which exclusively restricts nominations to nominating conventions.

    Richard P. Burke

  20. Wagner said: We are attempting to fill “ALL” 84 slots……

    LP members should constrast this additude with Root and assn in NV blocking candidates, placing NV in DANGER of losing statewide ballot access !

    Wise up friends, if ballot access is lost in NV, Root and the others responsible should be voted out of ANY position of leadership !!! STOP putting up with EGOS & TOOLS blocking the progress of LIBERTY ~!

    Faith In Freedom –
    ” The Libertarian Party still has a vision of where America’s founding principles can take her. But America isn’t really awake to see the perils that the LP tries to steer her around or how close she is to catastrophe. So now the LP offers classic principles that just might help America remember her faith in freedom. ” {Vote LIBERTARIAN}

  21. Nick Nick April 14, 2012

    A more open system of selecting general election candidates is a good thing.

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