Tag Archives: Libertarian Party

Media Blackout of Third Option For President on Every Ballot in the U.S.

Our exclusive one on one interview with Libertarian Presidential Candidate Jo Jorgensen about the media blackout that is keeping her out of the polls and off the Presidential debate stage.


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Nebraska Republicans Set Sights On Unseating Ex-GOP Libertarian State Senator

Update, May 16, 2018, 11:07 a.m.: Laura Ebke and Tom Brandt will face off once more in November’s general election; Ebke finished in second place in Tuesday’s primary election with 2,603 votes, and Brandt secured first place with 3,495 votes.

Nebraska State Senator Laura Ebke, who split from the Republican Party in 2016 while already holding office and instead joined the Libertarian Party, is facing an all-out assault from her former party in an effort to win back the seat for the GOP.

“GOP officials have unleashed a wave of negative mail and radio ads against Ebke, of Crete, turning the small-town primary into one of the most hotly contested races in Nebraska,” wrote Grant Schulte of Associated Press, characterizing the intensity of the fight over Ebke’s seat.

The Libertarian Party only has four state legislators nationwide, including Sen. Ebke, who is the first Libertarian state legislator to hold office in Nebraska’s history. She left the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party while holding office in 2016 after Neb. Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts called her out at a Republican state convention for not following the party line on legislative votes.

In the 2015 legislative session, Sen. Ebke had voted to overturn a Gov. Ricketts veto of a bill that repealed the death penalty but had also voted to sustain his veto of a gas tax hike.

“I’m not willing to bend my principles to go along or cast a vote just for the sake of party unity,” Sen. Ebke told the Lincoln Journal Star. “I agree with the Republican Party on many things and I have many friends in the party… Republicans talk about fiscal responsibility, but they tend to place not such a high emphasis on civil liberties.”

Sen. Ebke currently faces two Republican challengers in her re-election bid this year, former executive director of Nebraska Family Alliance Al Riskowski and Plymouth farmer Tom Brandt.

The socially conservative Riskowski has received an endorsement and a $5,000 donation from Gov. Ricketts. He cited a Sen. Ebke vote in favor of eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for low-level non-violent crimes as an example of one of her policies that he opposes.

Rikowski defended the money he received from Gov. Ricketts, saying, “I see the governor wanting to support candidates who are of a like mind, not trying to control them.”

Tom Brandt says he launched his campaign in response to rising agricultural taxes and a lack of funding for Nebraska schools. He expressed his surprise that such a small-town election could attract so many negative ads.

“It just seems the last two weeks have been about attack ads and money. I’m not naive, but I didn’t expect it to be this intense,” he said.

Nebraska Republican Party Executive Director Kenny Zoeller said that the party is focusing on defeating Sen. Ebke because after winning her election under the GOP banner, she “immediately abandoned our party and its principals.”

Sen. Ebke has come under fire for the fact that the majority of her donations have come from libertarian-leaning sources outside of her district, such as a $25,000 donation from Texan Libertarian Party donor Michael Chastain and a $15,000 donation from California businessman Chris Rufer. She says that she has had to rely on outside funding because Nebraska GOP officials have threatened to strip Republicans of their positions within the party if they support her campaign, a claim that the Nebraska Republican Party has denied.

She acknowledges that governor-backed bids to unseat incumbents have worked before in the past in the state and that her re-election effort will be a tough fight.

“I am fully aware that I’m in a precarious position here, especially when you have the financial power of the governor,” said Sen. Ebke.

Republican State Senator Roy Baker said of Gov. Ricketts efforts to get involved in state legislators’ races in comments to The Nation, “His unabashed goal is to take control of the Nebraska Legislature. He is very ideologically inclined rather than looking at other evidence or finding common ground on issues…. When you consider the amount of money the governor has and his dogma-driven agenda, it is a lethal combination.”

Sen. Ebke’s first hurdle in her re-election bid is Tuesday’s non-partisan top-two primary election. Nebraska’s state legislature is technically non-partisan, so the top-two vote winners in the primary face off in the general election, regardless of the political party to which they belong.

Delaware DOJ Calls Validating Libertarian Ballot Access “Waste” of State Resources

The 1600 registered member strong Libertarian Party of Delaware has legally obtained ballot access, but is struggling to get the State of Delaware to recognize it as a legitimate political party. Delaware election officials claim that, due to a dispute between a small splinter group of members that coalesced around a political party with a similar name and the larger Libertarian Party of Delaware, they are having a difficult time figuring out which party should be listed on the ballot.

Delaware State News notes that the party filed a Superior Court complaint in April against the state’s election commissioner in an effort to force officials to acknowledge in writing that the party is ballot-qualified.

However, after the Libertarian Party of Delaware obtained ballot access, a small splinter group of radical members left the party, reportedly over its support of a state-level cannabis legalization measure that they felt would not have gone far enough in avoiding taxes and regulations, and registered a similarly-named political party, The Libertarian Party of Delaware Inc, with the state. Libertarian Party of Delaware secretary Will McVay told Delaware State News that this new splinter party held a nominating convention that only drew 8 people.

McVay says that it should be obvious to officials which party is the real Libertarian Party of Delaware. “Our Facebook page has almost 900 followers and has been around for years, and theirs has like 20 followers and has been around only since December,” he said.

At the Libertarian Party of Delaware’s March 24 state convention, it nominated Nadine Frost as its candidate for U.S. Senate and filed paperwork with the Department of Elections to submit her for inclusion on the ballot. Initially, officials did not respond to the filing, but after the Libertarian Party of Delaware filed a lawsuit, she was listed on the ballot, meaning that the state has already acknowledged a candidate from the party’s nominating convention despite the fact that it claims not to know which party is which.

Libertarian National Committee executive director Wes Benedict said that the Libertarian Party of Delaware is the party it recognizes as a state affiliate rather than the splinter group. “The Libertarian Party cannot have more than one statewide affiliate in any state, nor can it have more than one county-level affiliate in any county. The LNC has therefore requested that the Commissioner of Elections take prompt action to resolve this matter in accordance with Delaware law,” he said in a statement.

However, despite the facts that the national Libertarian Party acknowledges only the Libertarian Party of Delaware, the state has already acknowledged one of its candidates, and the Libertarian Party of Delaware Inc. is exponentially smaller and distinctly different, state election commissioner Elaine Manlove said, “I don’t know who gets to claim [Libertarian registered voters] at this point.”

“She knows who we are — everyone with the commissioner’s office knows who we are. They’re well aware of who the real Libertarian party is. Why they’re not willing to make a ruling on it in writing in a timely fashion is, honestly, beyond me,” said party secretary McVay.

Deputy Attorney General Robert Willard issued a written response from the Department of Justice addressing the Libertarian Party of Delaware’s court complaint demanding recognition of the party’s ballot access, saying that their request has been rendered “moot” by the fact that the state has acknowledged one of its candidates and claims that efforts to obtain written confirmation of ballot access are motivated by an effort “to achieve a tactical advantage in a dispute between rival factions of the Libertarian Party of Delaware.”

“Your refusal to dismiss your complaint is not appropriate under any conceivable legal standard and will result in the needless waste of precious state resources. We again request that your complaint be dismissed without further delay. To the extent the state is required to respond to your complaint, we reserve the right to seek counsel fees and any other appropriate relief,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Willard.

McVay says written acknowledgement is important in ensuring that future candidates get the ballot access that they legally deserve without having to resort to lawsuits. “We can’t afford to go through this every election, we’re a small party. If we have something in writing from the commissioner, we’d at least have something to hang our hats on if our party is ever [legally] challenged again.”

He added, “They’re well aware that they could settle this easily. Especially since we asked them nicely to do that without a lawsuit back in mid-February. It should be a statement of obvious fact that requires no resources whatsoever.”

The Libertarian Party of Delaware Inc Facebook page administrator reportedly told Delaware State News, “The LPD is not affiliated with the Libertarian Party according to the Department of Election’s registration forms available to the public. The LPD, INC was established in 1975, and is in good standing with the state of Delaware.”

Bill Weld Sues to End Winner-Take-All in Massachusetts Presidential Elections

Former Republican Massachusetts Governor and Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate Bill Weld filed a suit Wednesday in Boston federal court challenging the constitutionality of Massachusetts’ winner-take-all election system. He says the system disenfranchises third and minority party voters.

Under winner-take-all rules, which exist in 48 U.S. states, the presidential candidate that obtains the most votes in a state then receives all of the state’s electoral votes. In Maine and Alaska, electoral votes are attributed to the winners of each congressional district, allowing supporters of candidates who lost the state to get a degree of proportional representation in the Electoral College.

“The winner-take-all system under the Electoral College is at the heart of the unhealthy duopoly that plagues our national politics. It causes candidates and campaigns to ignore all but the ‘battleground’ states. It discards millions of votes for president every four years. Getting rid of the winner-take-all system will help Americans enjoy a broader range of choices for president than the narrow ‘either/or’ choice with which they’ve suffered for too long,” said Weld according to The Dallas Observer.

Weld’s Massachusetts lawsuit claims, “The predominant method in America for counting votes in presidential elections violates the United States Constitution; it also distorts presidential campaigns, facilitates targeted outside interference in our elections, and ensures that a substantial number of citizen voters are disenfranchised when their votes are tallied in early November, only to be discarded when it really counts in mid-December.”

According to The Republican, Weld’s suit comes as a part of a nationwide movement to end winner-take-all, with suits also filed in California, Texas, and South Carolina. The California version of the lawsuit includes Republican actor Paul Rodriguez as a plaintiff. The Texas suit names the League of United Latin American Citizens as a plaintiff, who argue that Texas electoral votes have not gone to a candidate supported widely by Latino and African American voters, who make up around 40 percent of the state’s population, since 1976.

The Boston Herald notes that in Massachusetts 9.6 million citizens have cast votes for non-Democratic candidates in the past 8 presidential elections, but all of the state’s electoral votes have gone to Democrats.

The plaintiffs of the lawsuits in four states have indicated that they do not intend to overturn the entire Electoral College system, just individual states’ winner-take-all methods of allocating electoral votes.

Weld’s suit claims that winner-take-all causes general election presidential candidates to avoid campaign stops in highly-partisan states such as Massachusetts. “As a result [of winner-take-all], candidates from major political parties rarely hold campaign events in Massachusetts once they are selected by their parties in the primary,” it reads. “This results in a reduced opportunity for all Massachusetts voters to interface with and petition the candidates for major political parties in person, and ‘to express their ideas, hopes, and concerns to their government and their elected representatives’ as is also protected by the Petition Clause of the First Amendment.”

Current, Former Elected Officials Join New Mexico Libertarian Party

Following the 2016 presidential election in which Gary Johnson obtained 9.3 percent of the vote in New Mexico, the Libertarian Party in the state has obtained major party status for 2018 elections, allowing candidates to run under the party ticket without facing the typically mountainous signature-collecting obstructions that usually hamstring third-party candidates. Consequently, the newly-strengthened party has picked up two noteworthy free agents from the Republican and Democratic parties.

Current New Mexico state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, one of a sparse number of Republicans capable of winning a state-wide race in the state in recent years, switched his registration to the Libertarian Party last month. According to The Santa Fe New Mexican, Dunn’s office manages 9 million surface acres and 13 million mineral acres of trust land, the proceeds of which help fund education in the state, and he has recently locked horns with Republican Governor Susana Martinez in disagreement over the use of the State Investment Council, which may explain his exodus from the party.

Meanwhile, The Albuquerque Journal is reporting that Dunn is planning to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator from New Mexico Martin Heinrich in this year’s election, with a filing deadline approaching on February 6.

Dunn’s son, ex-Republican attorney A. Blair Dunn, is also launching a bid for New Mexico attorney general under the Libertarian Party brand. “We’re in it to run to win. It’s a lot easier if we have credible candidates for New Mexicans to come to the middle and find us,” said A. Blair Dunn.

Speaking of which, former Democratic state Rep. Sandra Jeff recently switched her party affiliation to Libertarian and is vying for secretary of state. The Las Cruces Sun-News notes that during Jeff’s three terms in the state legislature, she often broke party ranks and voted with Republicans on the floor.

New Mexico libertarians also currently have options in two congressional races. Candidates Grady Owens and Chris Manning are running in the second and third congressional districts respectively.

As of last count in November 2017, 7,261 New Mexicans have registered under the Libertarian Party, representing under 1 percent of registered voters. The party has announced an organizational convention on March 3.

The last time a third-party obtained major-party status in an election in New Mexico was in 1994 when the Green Party achieved 10 percent in a failed bid to challenge then-Republican Gary Johnson in the state’s gubernatorial race.

Former New Mexico Governor and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has indicated that he plans to campaign for New Mexico Libertarian Party candidates in upcoming elections.

DONEGAN: With GOP, Democrats in Turmoil, Libertarian Party Makes Historic Gains

The unexpected, meteoric rise of celebrity presidential candidate Donald Trump has torn the Republican Party asunder, causing many leading GOP politicos that once represented the party’s establishment and conservative wings to suggest that they might support a third-party candidate.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has become the unlikely voice of a new younger generation of progressives that are fed up with the status quo that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton represents. Many freshly-inspired voters and activists have recently stepped into the political process only to feel themselves being stiff-armed by Democratic Party superdelegates, party insiders whose votes have more weight than those of rank-and-file voters.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: Debunking the Lesser-of-Two-Evils Voting Theory]

Amid these melees, America’s best organized third party, the Libertarian Party, has found itself suddenly achieving a series of victories that seemed impossible just a few years ago.

Earlier this month, the Libertarian Party became a ballot-qualified party in Oklahoma, a state with such mountainous ballot access restrictions that no third-party presidential candidate had appeared on the ballot there since the year 2000.

The party is also prepping for its first-ever nationally-televised presidential primary debate at 9 p.m. EST on Friday on Fox Business Network’s Stossel program.

Even more shocking is the fact that a recent national Monmouth University poll of registered voters which tested Libertarian Party frontrunner Gary Johnson against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump found Johnson at 11 percent support, just 4 percent shy of the 15 percent support level required to qualify for the general election presidential debates.

[DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

If former two-term Republican New Mexico Governor Johnson, a socially-liberal and fiscally-conservative self-made businessman, were to find himself in the general election debates with Trump and Clinton, he would be the only candidate onstage with executive experience in government, an unusual claim for a third party candidate to be able to make.

The only remaining Republican and Democratic primary candidates with executive experience are Ohio Gov. John Kasich on the Republican side and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who once served as mayor of Burlington, Vt., on the Democratic side.

The Libertarian Party’s organizational success has even reportedly caught the attention of some major-party candidates who dropped out of their primaries earlier this year.

Libertarian Party chairman Nicholas Sarwark told The Washington Times on Wednesday, “We have been approached by candidates who have dropped out of the old party races about running on the Libertarian Party ticket. At this point, none of them have jumped in … but we have explored the options and talked to them about the logistics of it, what they would have to do, how they would be able to become part of the process.

Sarwick declined to say which candidates had approached the party.

In an unconventional political year in which the Republicans seem poised to nominate an unhinged celebrity that shouts profanities in speeches and the Democratic frontrunner is also facing the specter of a possible FBI indictment for mistakes that raise questions about her handling of classified national security information, the Libertarian Party’s current frontrunner might find himself in an opposite-day general election scenario where the third-party candidate is the only one who can emphasize his record as governor in an effort to cast himself and his party as more serious and presidential than the circus-like atmosphere of modern major-party politics. At a moment in which voters seem to prefer outsiders, the Libertarian Party can also play up its anti-establishment credibility as the best-organized third party alternative to what has been a generations-long Republican and Democratic stranglehold on U.S. politics.

For more election coverage, click here.

Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

Libertarian Party Obtains Ballot Access in Okla. for First Time Since 2000

The Libertarian Party just scored a major victory in its quest to fulfill candidate Gary Johnson’s promise that the party will be on the ballot in all 50 states as an alternative to the Republicans and Democrats in the 2016 presidential election.

Ballot Access News is reporting that the Oklahoma Election Board announced on Monday that it has verified the Libertarian Party’s petition to become a qualified party in the state, meaning that its presidential candidate will appear on the 2016 ballot and that its voters can register to vote as members of the party.

Only Republican and Democratic candidates have appeared on the Oklahoma presidential ballot in every election so far since the year 2000. The only political party to gain recognized party status since that time, the Americans Elect party in 2011, did not place a candidate on the ballot after doing so.

[RELATED: Libertarian Party of Maine Files Suit Seeking Recognized Party Status, Ballot Access]

Truth in Media reported last year on the fact that Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin had signed a bill into law in May of 2015 that reduced the number of signatures required for a third party to obtain qualified party status from 5 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election to 3 percent.

Prior to that change in the law, the Libertarian Party called Oklahoma “one of the toughest states for ballot access.

According to The Associated Press, the Oklahoma Libertarian Party had submitted a petition with 42,000 signatures in February, above the 24,745 signatures required to meet the 3 percent rule.

We did it. Now we have to make it count,” said Oklahoma Libertarian Party vice chair Tina Kelly. She said that the party has a dozen in-state candidates that are planning to run for office, including two possible contenders for U.S. Senate.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

In order to remain a qualified party in future elections, the top LP candidate on the ballot must garner at least 10 percent of the vote, a steep hurdle for a party that drew one percent of the vote nationally in the 2012 presidential election. However, a bill that would reduce that threshold from 10 percent to 2.5 percent passed the Oklahoma Senate by a vote of 42-1 on March 10. It has been referred to the Oklahoma House of Representatives for consideration.

Election law expert Richard Winger of Ballot Access News wrote, “The most difficult petition requirement the Libertarian Party must now complete, in order to have its presidential nominee on the ballot in all states in 2016, is the Illinois requirement, 25,000 signatures.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

New Data: Libertarian Party Registrations Rising

According to a recent Gallup poll and a report from Ballot Access News, the libertarian movement is not only gaining in popularity but is adding new members to the Libertarian Party. In fact, recent data shows that the it’s becoming the fastest growing party in the United States.

According to Cato‘s David Boaz, the number of people who identify as libertarian is increasing in the US according to the Gallup Poll’s 2015 survey. The results show that “27 percent of respondents can be characterized as libertarians, the highest number they have ever found,” as more people are identifying as libertarian than conservative, liberal or populist.

Graphic from Reason.com.

According to the March 1, 2016 Ballot Access News publication, Democrat Party registrations declined between Oct. 2014 and Feb. 2016. The same occurred among Republicans, Independents, The Green and Constitution Party.  The only party that gained registrations is the Libertarian Party (See chart below on page 3. The chart shows the states in which people register by party).

Ballot Access News’ Richard Winger told Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook, “Even though it’s still small, the Libertarian Party registration has increased percentage wise in the last year and a half more than the number of Independents and you will not find the media mentioning that.”

Carla Howell, political director of the national Libertarian Party, told Cook that she is seeing a spike in Libertarian Party registration.

“I can tell you what we have seen for several years now is consistent growth in the Libertarian Party registration in states where you can register to vote by party and a decline in other parties,” said Howell.

Sean Haugh, a North Carolina Libertarian candidate for the US Senate, told Cook his thoughts on the rise of the Libertarian Party.

Cook asked Haugh, “It seems ballot access was an issue in the past for Libertarians, but is the new issue now getting on the debate stage in general elections?”

“For Libertarians in North Carolina, yes,” said Haugh. “We’ve reached the point where we can easily attain the 2 percent we need to stay on the ballot. The next goal is 15 percent to ensure debate access. Still, other candidates have to agree to debate. The signs I’m seeing indicate my opponents this time may avoid debates under any circumstances. I have long felt that once we get to 15 percent, the next step is 51 percent.”

Haugh added, “It’s very gratifying, having been here all this time and seeing Libertarian ideas become mainstream. I’ve been saying the same things for over 30 years, and now I’m the sane, common sense candidate, no longer some fringe radical. It’s nice.”

In July 2015, the Truth in Media Project released a Consider This video, seen below, revealing that Independents and third party voters together are now outnumbering Democrats and Republicans.

Republicans and Democrats are no longer the majority.Learn more: http://bit.ly/1Kdbdqm

Posted by Ben Swann on Saturday, July 18, 2015

Illinois Libertarian Party Wins Ballot Access Fight in Federal Court

The Libertarian Party of Illinois has won a battle in the state-by-state fight to repeal laws preventing the rise of a viable third party in the U.S., as it has prevailed in its lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ full-slate ballot access restriction.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Andrea R. Wood overturned the law, declaring it unconstitutional, in a motion for summary judgment.

Election law expert Richard Winger of Ballot Access News wrote, describing the now-overturned law, “[The full slate law] forced newly-qualifying parties to run a full slate of statewide candidates, whether they wanted to or not. For example, in midterm years, it forced such parties to run for Attorney General, if they wanted to run for Governor, even though the party might not have a qualified candidate for Attorney General (only attorneys can run for that position). In county partisan elections, it forced parties that wanted to run for any countywide executive positions to run for State’s Attorney.”

[RELATED: Libertarian Party of Maine Files Suit Seeking Recognized Party Status, Ballot Access]

Winger noted that the “full-slate law was passed in 1931” and suggested that “it was probably passed to thwart the Communist Party.

Libertarian Party of Illinois chairman Lex Green told NPR, explaining the challenges that had been caused by the law, “If the Libertarian party, or the Green Party, or the Constitution Party, or any other new party would want to run for governor, they would also have to find a qualified candidates for Attorney General, and a candidate for Secretary of State, Comptroller, etc… I personally think that it is all political maneuvering to keep the Democrats and Republicans in power in Illinois.

So we just asked that we be put on equal footing with the Democrats and the Republicans,” Green added.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

The Illinois Libertarian Party had originally filed the lawsuit in 2012. Judge Wood has not yet published a decision explaining her rationale behind declaring the law unconstitutional.

A July 2015 Truth in Media Consider This video highlights the fact that independent voters now outnumber Republicans and Democrats. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

Libertarian Chair on Top-Two Primary: ‘We Are Better With It Than Without It’

By Gabriel Saint Cyr – Washington Libertarian Party (LPWA) Chairman C. Michael Pickens believes that the nonpartisan, top-two primary is the best system in the country to get Libertarians elected to office. Pickens cites recent successes party candidates have had in Washington state to make his point.

In most states, the primary process is dominated by political parties. Primary voters participate in taxpayer-funded primary elections where candidates are chosen to represent private political parties in the general election.

However, Washington state uses a nonpartisan, top-two primary similar to California. All candidates and voters participate on a single primary ballot and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party preference, move on to the general election.

In an interview for IVN, Pickens discussed the impact the nonpartisan system has had on the LPWA since it was first implemented in 2008, along with his optimism for the future.

According to Pickens, Libertarian leaders in Washington initially interpreted the top-two system as an effort to stifle the influence of third parties. However, he sees top two differently.

He explained that under more traditional partisan systems, Republican candidates typically attack Libertarian candidates, because if there is a Republican, a Democrat, and a Libertarian on the general election ballot, Republicans will accuse the Libertarian of siphoning votes from the GOP.

“They’re all going to the general election so the votes are being split,” Pickens said.

He argues that general election voters are essentially forced to choose between voting for their preferred candidate and voting for someone else strategically to avoid a worst-case scenario.

“In Washington state (under top two), one of the strategies we use is we tell people they can vote their conscience in the primary,” Pickens said. “It is actually a benefit for us because people can vote the way they want in the primary.”

He further explained that as an added bonus, a third-party candidate no longer has to clear the staggering hurdle of placing first in a general election against a Democrat, a Republican, and perhaps others. Now, a second place finish in the primary is good enough to move on to a contest against just one opponent.

These benefits are not just theoretical, either. Pickens said that after the LPWA shifted its focus in how it recruited candidates and running solid campaigns, the party ran 12 candidates in 2014, 8 of whom made it to the general election. The elections resulted in the highest vote totals in LPWA history.

In 2015, the party fielded 17 candidates, 5 of whom won in local races. The LPWA more than doubled its elected representation from 4 to 9.

“Now we have 23 candidates lined up to run right now that are confirmed and I think 9 potential candidates,” Pickens added.

While minor party challenges to top two have diminished in Washington state, they still exist in California, where some party leaders have encouraged their members not to vote in the general election in some races out of protest against the nonpartisan system.

Opponents of top two argue that it diminishes voter choice, restricting options available to voters in the general election when the most people historically participate. With limited voter support, third parties have a tough hurdle to clear to get to the November election under top two.

In response, Pickens says that party leaders should spend less time squabbling over procedure and more time where it counts – campaigning and getting people to the polls.

“The bottom line is third parties have to go to work,” he said. “If we can’t get second place in a primary, we’re never going to be able to get first place in the general.”

For Pickens, this means going door-to-door, putting up door hangers, and other traditional forms of advertising and campaigning that he says is working for the party now that they have built up a solid infrastructure in the state.

Pickens says there are alternative voting methods and election systems that he would prefer, such as ranked-choice voting and the use of multi-member districts with proportional representation. However, he says top-two is an improvement from what Washington state used to have and was even one of his motivations to move to the state.

“I think we have the best system in the country to get Libertarians elected,” Pickens concluded. “If we can get a Libertarian elected to state office, we can actually do a whole lot more around the country, because that will give other people permission, and motivation, and inspiration that maybe they can do that in their state.”


This article was republished with permission from IVN.

Joshua Cook Interviews Libertarian Presidential Candidate Austin Petersen

In an interview with Truth in Media’s Joshua Cook, Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen discussed his 2016 campaign.

Petersen told Cook about his philosophical differences with his opponent, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, stating that he would love to debate Johnson and discuss issues that Americans care most about. Petersen also discussed the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Petersen told Cook that he didn’t believe that the ‘liberty’ movement was dead and that young people are still interested in less government and more freedom.

Petersen said that he believes that he can grow the Libertarian Party in 2016.

Listen to the interview above to learn more about Petersen and his campaign.

IVN Interview: Gary Johnson Calls 2016 a ‘Tipping Point’ for Independents

By Glenn Davis – Last week amid considerable speculation, former New Mexico governor and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, formally announced his bid for the 2016 Libertarian Party nomination. In an exclusive interview for IVN, he clarified his announcement and ambitions for his 2016 campaign.

Gary Johnson is known for a wide range of accomplishments as an entrepreneur, two-term governor, marijuana advocate, and extreme athlete. To pave the way for his presidential bid, he resigned as CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc. – a position he recently described as his “dream job.”

So why aim for an even loftier goal of becoming president?

“I have a great life. I don’t need to be president. But I do need – and want – to alter the course the nation is on under the leadership of the past couple of decades,” Johnson said of his objectives.

His first hurdle is securing the Libertarian nomination. There are at least ten others vying to be the LP candidate, including computer security pioneer John McAfee.

[easy-tweet tweet=”2016 LP candidate @GovGaryJohnson wants to alter the course of the nation.” user=”TheCPlan” hashtags=”election”]

The LP endorsement is an open, competitive process, a process which Johnson believes in.

“I’ll have to earn the nomination,” he confirmed, adding that he is the candidate most capable of “providing a voice on the national stage.”

He means that literally.

The Libertarian National Committee is a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit to change the rules that obstruct third party candidates from participating in presidential debates. While the court decision is still pending, Johnson says movement is expected in the next few weeks.

“We believe we have a strong case, and that we will not only prevail, but in the process, expose the Commission on Presidential Debates as the partisan, rigged organization that it is,” he remarked.

Having a podium on the national debate stage is crucial to his success, suggesting that 2016 may be a “tipping point” in the viability of independent candidates.

Johnson believes that, like himself, the majority of voters are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. He elaborated:

[quote_box_center]“There are literally millions of Americans today who are libertarians, but frankly don’t know it. Their beliefs align with ours, and they just need a political home. We must make the LP that home.”[/quote_box_center]

And Johnson is not holding back against the current field of Democratic and Republican candidates. According to Johnson, “a majority of Americans now say that neither of the two ‘major’ parties represents them,” citing little difference among Obama, Clinton, and the Republicans.

Hillary Clinton, Johnson explained, “might well surpass President Obama when it comes to spending and increasing the debt.”

“Voters have just as much to fear and oppose from Clinton as they do the Republicans,” he added

Regarding the Republican candidates, “despite their attacks on one another, when you wade through the rhetoric, there is really very little difference among them,” Johnson stated, adding:

[quote_box_center]“Donald Trump may well be bringing some new ‘anti-establishment’ voters into the equation, but that is more a matter of style than substance. On the issues, none of the Republicans are bringing any new ideas to the conversation.”[/quote_box_center]

He previously expressed that Trump’s intentions are “just whacked… crazy.”

Johnson hopes that he and the LP will benefit from this.

“Our job is to connect with those voters and give them a credible, viable alternative,” he explained.

Where will his votes come from? In his announcement, Johnson asserted that “Libertarians draw as many votes from Democrats as they do from Republicans.” But conventional wisdom may suggest otherwise. When asked specifically whether he will draw votes from an already fragmented Republican electorate, he responded, “I certainly hope so.”

He added:

[quote_box_center]“It is clear that not just Republicans, but Americans across the board are rejecting the status quo. I believe 2016 has the potential to be historic in terms of the door being open for a candidate other than the Republican and Democrat to gain substantial support. Our job is to connect with those voters and give them a credible, viable alternative.”[/quote_box_center]

What will constitute success?

“I want to win, and I want to serve,” answered Johnson. But he also sees success in shifting the debate and reshaping American politics, citing the examples of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

“If we change the course of the nation and restore liberty as the true American value, it will be a job well done,” he said.

Dream job or not, the presidency would be quite an achievement for Gary Johnson. But are voters truly ready to affirm his rejection of the status quo on Election Day? As Johnson maintained, “the only wasted vote is a vote for a candidate one doesn’t really believe in.”



This article was republished with permission by IVN

STAPLETON: LP Presidential Candidate Steve Kerbel Makes His Case for Liberty

It’s been my great pleasure to have the opportunity to sit down with Austin Petersen and Steve Kerbel, both of whom are currently running for president of the United States under the Libertarian flag.

I don’t want to give too much of my opinion away as it relates to Steve, but I can say that if you’ve never heard him speak, or worse yet don’t know who he is, this is an interview you don’t want to miss.

Over the course of about 45 minutes, we discussed everything from the Oregon standoff to what’s holding the Libertarian Party back from achieving greater notoriety as a politically viable alternative to the status quo.

I found Steve to have an excellent command of the issues and a set of political ideas based soundly on Libertarian principles.

I know Gary Johnson just announced his candidacy, and many libertarian minded people will default to him simply because of his notoriety and instant name recognition. But I think it’s worth your time to spend a few minutes to hear from some of the other candidates. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find we have a lot of great people offering alternatives to the Republican and Democrat monopoly.

Former N.M. Gov. Gary Johnson Launches Bid for Libertarian Presidential Nomination

Former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson announced on Wednesday that he is seeking the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

According to KRQE News 13, Johnson made his announcement from the New Mexico state capitol in Santa Fe.

In 2012, Johnson launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination before he went on to win the opportunity to be the Libertarian Party’s standard-bearer in the general election. Johnson obtained almost 1.3 million votes for president in the 2012 general election, the most ever by a Libertarian Party candidate.

[RELATED: Exclusive Post-GOP Debate Interview With Gary Johnson]

A fiscal conservative who won the governorship twice in what was a majority Democrat state, Johnson topped headlines in 1999 when he took a controversial and early stance in favor of marijuana legalization, making him the highest ranking U.S. politician to have done so by that time in modern history.

Reason notes that Johnson scheduled a Wednesday appearance on Cavuto: Coast to Coast to publicize his 2016 presidential announcement. A campaign website also went live on Wednesday.

Rumors began to fly about a potential Johnson campaign announcement after he stepped down as CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc. last week.

I am announcing my candidacy right now for the Libertarian nomination. I do believe that crony capitalism is alive and well. It’s Democrats and Republicans that contribute to that. I’d like to be that choice that is not going to succumb to that,” said Johnson on Cavuto: Coast to Coast according to Politico.

The Daily Caller pointed out that Johnson told Fox Business host Neil Cavuto, “I think the biggest problem facing this country is the $20 trillion debt that we will have when Obama leaves office. Government is too big, it’s unwieldy, it’s out of control, we need to get control.

He added, “On my deathbed, I’m hoping that I look back and believe that I was the voice of reason in all this, regardless of how many votes I end up garnering.

For more election coverage, click here.

Libertarian Party of Maine Files Suit Seeking Recognized Party Status, Ballot Access

The Libertarian Party of Maine filed a federal lawsuit on January 4 seeking official recognition as a party on Maine’s election ballots.

Truth in Media previously reported that Maine Sec. of State Matthew Dunlap had rejected the party’s request for official party status on Dec. 9 despite the fact that the party had submitted 6,482 registration cards to prove that it had over 5,000 members as of Dec. 1 as required by state law. Independent parties in Maine must prove their level of membership by Dec. 1 of the year prior to an election.

Officials in Maine only certified 4,489 of those registration cards, leaving the Libertarian Party just shy of the required 5,000 mark.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

According to a copy of the complaint obtained by Ballot Access News, Libertarian Party of Maine v. Dunlap names Sec. of State Dunlap, Deputy Sec. of State Julie Flynn, Division of Elections Assistant Director Tracy Willett, and the Maine Department of the Secretary of State as defendants.

The complaint states, “With the sole exception of the office of President of the United States, the primary election is the exclusive gateway to participation in Maine’s general election for all political parties and their candidates, major and minor alike. Unlike
other states around the nation, Maine does not allow minor political parties to nominate
candidates for federal, state or local office by holding a party convention. Unsurprisingly, no minor party candidate for the U.S. House or Senate has gained access to the general election ballot in Maine during the past ninety (90) years.

It added, “On or about December 8, 2015, at a meeting with Deputy Flynn and her
assistant, Melissa Packard, at the Department’s offices in Augusta, Plaintiff Maderal was told that the unofficial ‘verified’ number of Maine voters enrolled in the Libertarian Party according to the Department’s records was only 4489, falling below the 5000 threshold for qualification under 21-A M.R.S.A. § 303… The unofficial ‘verified’ number of enrollments verbally reported to Maderal on December 8th raised numerous discrepancies and concerns, when compared with the number of voter registration and enrollment forms submitted to the Department and all the various town and cities prior to December 1st (totaling 6,482). Of particular concern was what appeared to be an unusually high rejection/failure rate for the enrollments (amounting to some 31% of all enrollments submitted), and LPME’s inability to verify whether the towns and cities actually received and processed all the forms submitted to them and to the Department.

The complaint argues that the Dec. 1 deadline for proving party status “unnecessary burdens on Plaintiffs’ rights to express themselves, to associate politically, and to
cast their votes effectively, among others, which rights are guaranteed to them under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

The Libertarian Party of Maine maintains that Sec. of State Dunlap’s decision prevents the party’s candidates from obtaining ballot access and disenfranchises the party’s voters. Party officials also argued that Dunlap’s ruling effectively nullifies thousands of the party’s membership applications.

For context, the Truth in Media Project released a Consider This video in July of 2015 highlighting the fact that independent voters now outnumber Republicans and Democrats. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Maine Sec. of State Rejects Libertarian Party’s Application for Ballot Access

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap’s office announced on Dec. 9 that the Libertarian Party is not considered a qualified party for ballot access.

State law requires minor parties to prove that they have at least 5,000 members by Dec. 1 of the year prior to an election in order to obtain ballot access. The Libertarian Party of Maine submitted 6,400 party registration cards on Dec. 1 of 2015, but the request for ballot access was reportedly rejected when officials failed to process all of the submitted cards in advance of the deadline.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

By the end of the day on Dec. 1, Maine officials had only processed 4,489 of the Libertarian Party’s registration cards, leaving the official count just shy of the required number, despite the fact that almost 2,000 more of the party’s registration cards had been submitted but not processed.

Ballot Access News’ Richard Winger, an expert on U.S. election law, suggested that the Libertarian Party might have grounds for a legal challenge against the ruling and wrote, “It is extremely likely that the December 1 deadline is unconstitutionally early. Courts have struck down early petition or registration deadlines for a group to qualify for party status in Alabama (April was too early), Arkansas (January was too early), California (January was too early), Idaho (May was too early), Nebraska (February was too early), Nevada (April was too early), New Mexico (April was too early), Ohio (November of the year before the election was too early), South Dakota (February was too early), and Tennessee (April was too early). All of those were procedures to qualify a party, not procedures for candidates.

He added, “The earliest deadline for a new party to qualify that was upheld [in the courts] was the Alabama March deadline, but the reason it was upheld was that Alabama had its primary for all office in March. In the past, when Alabama had a June primary for all office, the April petition deadline was held unconstitutional. The Maine primary is June 14, 2016.

Winger also noted that, in the case of general election ballot access qualifications for individual independent candidates, “A US District Court invalidated Maine’s non-presidential independent candidate petition deadline of April in Stoddard v Quinn, in 1984.

For context, the Truth in Media Project released a Consider This video in July of 2015 highlighting the fact that independent voters now outnumber Republicans and Democrats. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Exclusive Interview: Austin Petersen to Run for President as a Libertarian


Last week Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook spoke with Austin Petersen, Editor-in-Chief of The Libertarian Republic, who is seeking his party’s nomination for the President of the United States.

Petersen made it clear that he is seriously running for president and that he will be old enough next year to qualify when he turns 35 years old next spring.

Cook asked Petersen about his strategy to reach voters who are being promised “free” stuff by Sen. Bernie Sanders who’s currently attracting large crowds.

“I cannot give you free stuff, but I can give you free-dom, and from that is the bounty, the cornucopia, that heart of the American dream, but I believe we’ve lost our way,” said Petersen. 

“It’s going to take a cabal of libertarian activists who will defend and champion these ideas and explain to the American people why these ideas are superior to the ideas of socialism, central planning, and big government,” said Petersen.

Regarding ballot access issues, Petersen said that “we have to prove that we are viable.”

“The American people, if they saw a libertarian candidate polling high enough I think that the American people would demand them to be included in the debate,” said Petersen.

Petersen describes his campaign run as a David and Goliath story and said that he wants to take what resources he has and go to war.

“We have to work harder than the Republicans and Democrats,” said Petersen.

“David beat Goliath because he was brave enough to go on the field of battle with his sling and sword, and challenge Leviathan. That’s what libertarians have to do. We have to challenge the Leviathan and we’re going to have to punch above our waist. We’re going to have to learn the tactics and strategies that our enemies employ against us because they are far greater and out fund us. We have to smarter, train harder and find the strategies that work,” said Petersen.

Petersen’s platform:

  • Reduce economic inequality by lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, licensing, taxation, and fees. Urge Congress to adopt the “Penny Plan,” across the board spending cuts of 1% per program.
  • Strengthen national security by reducing/ending foreign aid to nations hostile to the USA. Reconsider overseas troop deployments in areas not important to US national security, and audit the Pentagon. Reform the Veteran’s Affairs administration.
  • Lower barriers to trade with foreign nations, and allow American companies the leeway they need to develop domestic energy production, in order to create good paying jobs at home.
  • Audit the Federal Reserve. Institute a Monetary Commission devoted to studying the implications of replacing central banking with “Free Banking,” and abolishing laws of legal tender.
  • Abolish the existing, complicated tax code that discriminates against the most productive Americans, and replace it with a simple, flat tax at the lowest rate necessary to support the core functions of government. Seek voluntary ways to fund public services where possible, lotteries, tolls, etc.
  • Streamline our immigration system by following updated “Ellis Island” styled protocols. Security check. Disease check. Done.
  • Work with Congress to institute new protocols that will protect national security while placing the balance of weight towards due process and individual rights. No beheadings without due process.
  • Reclassify the war on drugs as a medical problem, not a criminal problem. Deschedule drugs at the federal level.
  • Allow young people to opt out of Social Security.
  • Overturn Obamacare. Seek out market alternatives to problems of health and wellness.
  • Defend Life – Encourage a culture of life, and adoption, and educate Americans about the “consistent pro-life ethic,” which also means abolishing the death penalty.

Exclusive Post-GOP Debate Interview With Gary Johnson

“After last night I believe now that the Republican nominee is going to be Carly Fiorina,” says Gary Johnson, the 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate and former two-term Republican governor from New Mexico. “I think Carly Fiorina won the debate hands down. I thought she was clearly impressive, that she was dynamic,” said Johnson, but “I disagree with her on a lot of things she had to say.”

Johnson told Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook in an exclusive interview that he disagreed with Fiorina on her marijuana policy. Johnson, who is fiscally responsible and socially liberal, noted that when U.S. Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky.), NJ Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J) and Carly Fiorina were discussing drug laws, there was talk of utilizing treatment options rather than incarceration. “That’s a really old model, the notion to pledge support for treatment over incarceration,” said Johnson, particularly for marijuana.

“The Republican Party is behind the eight-ball on a lot of issues that are directly impacting the country and the world and it’s just too bad.”

“With the exception of Huckabee who supports the Fair Tax, nobody is really talking about how to grow to the economy and how to bring about economic growth,” said Johnson.

Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook asked Johnson, “If you were President, what would you do regarding foreign policy in the Middle East right now?”

“We need to recognize our enemy and our enemy is radical Islam,” Johnson responded.

“We can do a better job of drying up the funding of these terrorist organizations. And that  would include money coming into the United States. And it doesn’t involve boots on the ground and it doesn’t involve dropping bombs. But there is a real threat. Of late, I am not Islamicphobic, I’m Shariaphobic,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he wasn’t going to run as a Libertarian as this moment. “There’s no real advantage to getting out there at this point. You’ve got the Republicans that are sucking all the air out of the room, and for that matter, same with the Democrats,” said Johnson.

“I hope to be the Libertarian nominee and I hope to be able to be the voice of what I think is the philosophy of most Americans, which speaking with a broad brush stroke, is being fiscally responsible and socially liberal- the definition of a classic liberal which I think most of us in this country falls in that category,” said Johnson.

Watch the video above, and download our podcasts: PodBean | Itunes

NM Ex-Gov. Gary Johnson Says Trump Hurts GOP Brand By Appealing to “Racist” Voters

On Wednesday, Reason released a teaser clip, seen above, of an interview conducted by Nick Gillespie at Freedom Fest last week in Las Vegas with former two-term New Mexico Republican Governor and 2012 Libertarian Party nominee for president Gary Johnson. In the clip, Johnson said that Trump’s campaign messaging is hurting the Republican Party’s brand.

For context, Reason notes that Trump kicked off his campaign in June by claiming that “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists… some, I assume, are good people.

In the interview, Gillespie asked Johnson, “Do you think that Trump represents anything legitimate in the Republican Party or among the American [body] politic? Because he is now like number two in some Republican polls.

Without hesitation, Johnson declared, “He is appealing to a segment that I’ll just label racist, and it exists and it’s out there, and, you know what? I don’t want to have anything to do with it. It embarrasses me, and, like I say, I think the electorate will paint the entire Republican Party with a broad brush as a result of Trump, and it won’t be a positive.

The above clip comes from a longer interview that Reason says will be released in its entirety tomorrow. Reportedly, Johnson said in the interview that he is considering whether he will seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president in 2016 and will make his decision over the next few months.

Johnson is known for plunging head-first into controversial debates. In 1999, the then-governor shocked politicos by coming out in favor of the legalization of marijuana, making him one of the highest-ranking US politicians to do so by that point in history.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

OK GOP Governor Signs Bill Making Third-Party Ballot Access Easier

“Today marks an important milestone in Oklahoma history — a day in which the state Legislature and governor not only acknowledged the harmful nature of Oklahoma’s ballot access laws, but also made an effort to ease that burden,” said a statement by the Libertarian Party, cited by The Oklahoman. On Tuesday, Republican Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed HB 2181, a bill that reduces the number of signatures required by independent parties in order to obtain recognized party status and ballot access from 5% of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial or presidential election to 3% of those who voted in the most recent gubernatorial contest. The new law is set to take effect on November 1 of this year.

A blog on the Libertarian Party’s website noted, “To get on the ballot in 2016 in Oklahoma, 24,712 valid signatures will be needed. Under the old standard, the amount would have been 41,188.” Libertarian Party staff said that Oklahoma’s outgoing 5% rule made it “one of the toughest states for ballot access.”

Oklahoma’s Republican Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman was one of the authors and initial sponsors of the bill. An op-ed in Tulsa World stated, “Hickman originally proposed bringing the number all the way down to 1 percent.”

Ballot Access News pointed out the fact that Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill within a day of it reaching her desk.

A statement by the Green Party, cited by The Oklahoman, said that the bill’s passage “opens up the possibility for progress towards greater political representation and participation” but that the Green Party will continue pushing for the signature requirement to be changed to 5,000.

Since the year 2000, no independent party has obtained official ballot access in Oklahoma such that a candidate could identify by that label on the ballot.

For more election coverage, click here.