With help from Joe Buchman. See also:
Most of the questions were based on what readers wanted to ask, and there will be a final interview in the late afternoon today. Please feel free to ask any remaining or follow up questions in the comment thread of this post by that time. I’ll try to avoid asking the same questions that have already been asked, so please read the previous interviews and questions before posing questions.
PAULIE: What are your expectations for where the campaign will see the
RON: I think we will do well in New Mexico and some other Western states. I believe we will also have surprising pockets of support in many of the non-battleground states. In battleground states, with the magnitude of media coverage for the Democratic and Republican candidates saturating those markets, I think we will have a harder time.
[There was another part to the question, which was repeated in both interviews – “Plus, which specific states have more activism and organization in place that helps the GJ campaign.” I think Ron does not want to sleight the hard working activists in other states by mentioning any states as good examples].
PAULIE: What kind of budget did you estimate you’d have at the start of the
general election campaign?
RON: We had hoped to raise between three and five million dollars in the
general. We’ve raised less than I had hoped we would.
PAULIE: Why do your donation drop cards, on the back where people will not
see them, say that the money is for the primary campaign rather than the
general election campaign?
RON: It’s on the back of the card because it would not fit on the front.
The same language is also on our website. It’s the language that the FEC
requires for us to use to be able to qualify for matching funds. I’ve seen
similar, or identical, language on other campaign fundraising cards.
PAULIE: If Gary runs in 2016, would you be serving as Campaign Manager
RON: Yes, I would support Gary Johnson fully in any decision he makes
regarding a race in 2016.
PAULIE: Richard Winger says, “Ask Ron if Gary Johnson will start talking
about Instant Runoff Voting. Any state is free to pass that for presidential
elections, and Vermont did so 12 years ago, except the Governor vetoed it.
That would end the “wasted-vote” problem.”
RON: We’ll review after the election —I don’t see it as a major issue for
PAULIE: I’m not sure that’s an issue that a Presidential Campaign should
spend a large portion of its time and efforts to educate the public about.
RON: Paulie . . . you’re probably right.
PAULIE: Do you know of anyone running Gary Johnson advertising ads in their
local areas on their own dimes?
RON: The Freedom and Liberty PAC is running nationwide advertising. I do
not know of any in other specific markets, but I have heard there might be.
[At least one example was provided by a reader in the comment threads of the previous interview and questions.]
PAULIE: I know someone who has run political advertising on their local cable
system for about $3.00 per ad. Can the campaign for 2016, assuming there will be one, do anything to encourage that kind of independent activity by supporters?
RON: That’s not something the campaign can be part of – what are called
“independent ” expenditures. However everyone is free to do that kind of
thing on their own.
PAULIE: Would you be opposed to the LP nominating convention being held over
Labor Day Weekend in 2015?
RON: I believe the Libertarian Party would be put at a great advantage if
they were to hold their nominating convention earlier than they do now. The
more time they can provide the nominee to campaign the better.
PAULIE: LNC is locked into contracts for the 2014 and 2016 conventions with specific dates, cities and hotels. Another possibility that was brought up was nominating the presidential ticket at the 2014 convention, but that would probably require a By-Laws change which can’t happen before that convention, so I don’t see that as likely either.
PAULIE: Did you and your staff understand the difficulties and unfairness
placed on alternative party ballot access when GJ changed Parties?
RON: Well, first Gary always governed as a libertarian, and said so even
back in the 1990s. In December he re-registered with the Libertarian Party.
But, yes, we looked at all the issues and problems from past Libertarian
campaigns including media exclusivity and ballot access issues.
PAULIE: Why was there not more emphasis on the idea that if we could get 5%
we would gain millions for the LP?
RON: That’s an appeal that I believe works best near the end of the campaign
rather than as a rallying cry at the beginning or middle stages. Early on
our goal had been the 15% criteria for entrance into the debates. However,
using the 5% was a strategic plan from the early days of the campaign…
just not a public announcement.
PAULIE: In addition to the great new ad, what specific efforts are being
made to get to the 5% threshold?
1) Grassroots organization, meetups, activism
2) Social media
3) Internet advertising
4) Organized sign waving
5) Radio advertising (earlier on)
6) Two new television ads airing in selected markets nationally
7) The Virtual debate video (just released)
8) The two Free and Equal debates
9) The Ralph Nader debate
10) Ongoing earned media.
PAULIE: I liked the crowd surfing video. I was hoping that would become a
regular thing at other campaign appearances.
RON: (LAUGHS) Those type of stunts work best when not expected.
PAULIE: Will the campaign consider increasing coordination with other
parties (such as the Greens and/or Constitution party) to help combat ballot
access laws and the CPD over the next few years? Occasionally we do, but
often we seem to fight these battles in a vacuum, though we have the shared
RON: Two things will determine those kind of efforts. First, does it help
our legal case in the lawsuits we have filed, or may file in the future; and
secondly is there significant publicity value to us for doing that.
PAULIE: Do you think more targeted, or project-specific fundraising would
have worked better?
RON: We tried to do that with only limited success. That said, fundraising
is the key to success and we are going to need to explore many options to
make it happen.
PAULIE: To what degree did you follow the campaigns of the Green,
Constitution Parties and others?
RON: We monitor all of the other campaigns, but we did not see much from the
Greens etc., if anything, in the way of earned media compared to what we
PAULIE: Anything you’d like the IPR readers to know?
RON: I believe we will gain a great grassroots organization out of our work
on this campaign, especially among 18 to 35 year olds. That is exciting. I
believe it lays a solid foundation and the groundwork for the future that
the Liberty movement needs.
Also we’d like to invite everyone, each of the IPR readers seeing this
message, to join in our celebration in Albuquerque one week from tonight
either in-person of by watching our stream at
http://www.garyjohnson2012.com or by participating in our Google+
hangout. If you organize or become part of one of the watch parties going
on around the USA, we’d like to connect with your video feed so the Governor
can express his gratitude to each of you.
If you have friends or relatives in Albuquerque who support the Liberty
movement, please invite them to join us there as well. We hope to see you
in-person (Editor’s note: There will be lots of free food and a cash bar),
but if not, we hope to see you virtually.
In the meantime please be sure to watch Gary in his final two debates of
this campaign season on November 4th (Editor’s note: with Ralph Nader) and
5th (the second Free and Equal debate), organize watching parties and invite
friends to watch the debates that do not support Gary or know of him. This
is great way to win new supporters.
… and keep up the sign waving, canvasing, phone banking, social media
sharing, in-person persuading, and get-out-the-vote efforts. There’s still
a lot of work to be done, and we need everyone’s 100 percent effort from now
through November 6th.
PAULIE: Thanks. We’ll do this again on Thursday.
RON: Thank you Paulie. And thanks to all the IPR readers too.
More questions? Please ask them in this thread by 5 PM Mountain time (7 Eastern – 6 Central – 4 PM Pacific) today.