Adapted from the Wikinews series On the campaign trail
As soon as Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination, Libertarian Party (LP) membership applications doubled. Longtime Republican consultant , former Massachusetts governor William Weld, and former Congressman of Michigan, were among those who left the GOP in May to find a new home in the LP. While Matalin enthusiastically backed Libertarian presidential runner-up Austin Petersen, and Weld won the party’s vice presidential nomination; Bentivolio, who had endorsed Dr. Ben Carson for president before joining the party, had a much different experience.
“It was suggested by a few supporters I run [for vice president] as a libertarian,” says Bentivolio, a teacher and veteran of theand wars, who earned the moniker “the accidental Congressman” after his surprising 2012 election, “I briefly entertained the idea of running and spent time investigating the party.”
Bentivolio, 64, unexpectedly won the Republican nomination to represent unable to run for re-election after his petitions to qualify for the primary ballot were deemed fraudulent. Upon his victory in the general election, Bentivolio went to Washington, joining the and the . He took an active role in introducing and sponsoring successful legislation, becoming, according to the House historian, one of the most effective freshmen Congressmen of recent times. listed him as the most transparent Republican freshman in the .in 2012, after the sitting Congressman, Thaddeus McCotter, a 2012 presidential candidate, was
Nevertheless, during his single term, he frequently bucked the party leadership, voting against a resolution to thethe of President Barack Obama. Moreover,
“From day one after my election [to Congress],” Bentivolio explains, “Mr. Paul Welday (recently deceased from a heart attack), stated to the Press [that] they (the GOP) will not only take the seat back but ruin me personally.”
In 2014, Bentivolio lost his seat to attorney, a primary opponent with a large fundraising edge and the backing of the Republican establishment. After leaving Congress, Bentivolio suffered financial difficulties as a consequence of a lawsuit filed against him by his former campaign attorney, whom Bentivolio now believes was a Republican establishment saboteur. As a result of the lawsuit, he filed for .
When Bentivolio joined the LP in May, he filed a Form 2 with the Federal Election Commission to run for vice president. Libertarian national chairman encouraged Bentivolio to run for his old congressional seat in addition to vice president. This was not well received by the local Libertarian Party, which feared such a run would violate Michigan’s ; the same law that prevented Gary Johnson from appearing on the ballot in 2012. Therefore, the local party nominated another candidate to run for the seat by a 2 to 3 vote.
“The district delegates [five in total] voted for another as the House candidate”, recounts Bentivolio, “[the candidate’s] wife was the deciding vote.”
Afterwards, Bentivolio expressed doubt about the party platform, saying it amounted to “judicial supremacy,” which he rejects, referencing the 1857 , in which the Court affirmed the rights of slaveholders. He added, “I am 100% and an and many in the Libertarian Party are and support slavery in their immigration policy.” He cited these as his reasons for ending his vice presidential campaign.
After Gary Johnson and William Weld won the party’s presidential and vice presidential nominations at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, Bentivolio offered his perspective on Johnson and Weld. Though he considered Johnson, “a nice guy and honest,” he felt Johnson “thinks government has all the answers.” In contrast, Bentivolio said he personally believes “government is the problem” and only supports “a government within the strict limitations clearly expressed in the Constitution.” He described Weld, amember who proposed strict measures as governor, as someone who “supports big government.”
Bentivolio has left the LP and now is an independent. He is considering an Independent run for his old Congressional seat. In addition, he remains undecided on whether to support Donald Trump for president. To help him decide, he is currently researching claims of a woman named “Katie Johnson” who filed a lawsuit accusing Trump of rape. Trump’s attorneys dismiss the suit as a hoax.