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Archive for the ‘2008 Elections’ Category

I’ve told bits and pieces of this story in response to comments on various threads in various places. Having done so over and over, I feel the need to go ahead and put it all out there now so that everyone has one place to turn to for my perspective as state chair. I’m going to go over this first in timeline format, then share a few additional facts about WV and the ballot access situation for us and other parties. If something in the timeline is a bit confusing, see the facts section for clarification.

December 2007: Bill Redpath approaches then-chair Kirsten Milligan about assisting WV with national party funds for ballot access. I was secretary of the party at that time. Kirsten discussed it with the executive committee, and the concensus we reached was that since we did not have a gubernatorial candidate for 2008, national party funds would be better spent elsewhere, and that we would pursue ballot access in 2012 when we had a gubernatorial candidate so that we could achieve major party status and never have to petition again.

March 2008: Kirsten Milligan resigns, and I become interim chairman.

April 2008: Russ Verney contacts me about the possibility of the Barr campaign going for ballot access in WV if Barr wins the nomination. He seems enthusiastic, and I am as well. Mr. Verney comes across very well, and I’m genuinely looking forward to working with him on this together at that point.

May 2008: I’m elected chairman for a full term. Tad Britch is elected to replace me as secretary.

May 2008: Several Barr campaign folks speak to me about the possibility of ballot access in WV while I’m in Denver as a delegate, both before and after Barr receives the nomination. Shane Corey and Russ Verney are among them. I ask them to keep in touch moving forward, and state that I’d love to bring out whatever volunteers the state party has available, but that we have very little in the way of funds, and not enough to really pay for petitioners. I state that we would like some training for our volunteers who primarily reside in the north-central area of WV. This is the last time I would be in contact with any Barr campaign staff, however. I mention to Paulie and others that I’d like to have them come petition and party with me in WV if the Barr campaign sends some funds to the state party for ballot access.

June 2008: Towards the very end of June, Jake Witmer contacts me, and says they are petitioning. I mention that I’d like to get some volunteers trained from the state party’s volunteer base. Jake states that he is in Charleston (a few hours south of the north-central area, where we have very few activists and likely no volunteers.) Jake tells me Shane Corey is coming to the Charleston area, and that he’ll be contacting me. I ask if any petitioners are active in northern WV. Jake doesn’t know. Jake sends me some documents including petitions.

July 2008: I’m still in contact with Jake every once in a while. I offer to house petitioners in my home since Morgantown/Fairmont/Clarksburg/Bridgeport is a good area for petitioning. He says he has a friend who might take me up on it if his friend is brought in by the Barr campaign. That never occurs. I also mention that several other members of the state party would likely volunteer couch space or an air-bed. Later on, Jake gives me contact info for Shane who is apparently in Charleston. I am never able to get in contact with Shane, and he never attempts to contact me.

August 2008: The Barr campaign fails to meet its deadlines. Our state party volunteer base was never utilized. Barr also fails to register as a certified write-in candidate, so that write-in votes for Barr would be counted.

September 2008: A state party member calls me, asking about the Barr lawsuit. This is the first I’d heard of it.

Now for some facts. Ballot access is a 2% theshhold of prior-election voters in WV. To achieve major party status (which means you get free ballot access without petitioning) you must have a gubernatorial candidate who receives 1% of the popular vote. After the national convention, the only person who I was ever in contact with regarding the ballot access efforts was Jake Witmer. Jake was not equipped to really do what needed to be done, as a petitioner and not someone with any real authority. In the future, ballot access efforts will be undertaken by the LPWV. I firmly believe this will better serve the interests of LP candidates throughout the state as we move forward.  The Constitution Party achieved ballot access by petition in 2008 for their presidential candidate, as did Ralph Nader as an independent.  The Green Party affiliate, which is called the Mountain Party, had major party status and did not need to petition.

- Matt Harris, LPWV Chair

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Nevada’s Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki was indicted today by a grand jury on four felony counts related to his previous stint as state treasurer: 2 counts of Misappropriation and Falsification of Accounts By Public Officer, and 2 counts of Misappropriation by Treasurer. Krolicki had just last week announced he planned to run against Harry Reid for Senate in 2010, and claims this indictment was a politically motivated conspiracy hatched by Reid and Nevada’s Democratic Attorney General. The main problem with his story is that the indictment is hardly out of the blue. It has its roots back in January 2007, when the State Treasurer who took office after him, asked and received permission for an audit looking into possible improprieties. Krolicki even admits he was informed about a probable grand jury indictment late in November, so he announced his intention to run against Reid knowing it was coming.

The Hill happily pimped Krolick’s claim in an article titled: Top Reid challenger indicted.  In the article The Hill also mentioned that two other Republicans, who were considered possible challengers to Reid in 2010, had their political fortunes greatly decreased by losing their reelection bids last November. One of those was Congressman Jon Porter, and the other was State Senator Joe Heck. From The Hill article:

The two GOP names most often floated as top-notch challengers, however, have had difficult years of their own. Rep. Jon Porter, who represents Southern Nevada’s 3rd district, just lost his bid for a fourth term to state Sen. Dina Titus; and state Sen. Joe Heck lost his seat by fewer than 1,000 votes thanks to a Libertarian candidate.

Thanks to a Libertarian candidate? Not due to Heck’s lack of appeal in his district? The Hill conveniently failed to mention that an IAP candidate was a fourth contender in the field, who performed fairly well.

Candidate Party % vote votes
BREEDEN, SHIRLEY DEM 46.57% 46,420
HECK, JOE REP 45.81% 45,655
HAGAN, TIM LIB 4.77% 4,754
BLANQUE, TONY IAP 2.85% 2,843

Source: Nevada Secretary of State

Given the political views of Independent American Party members, it seems much more likely that Heck lost, “thanks” to the IAP candidate, not the Libertarian.

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Over the years, I’ve met many libertarians in different places. In July 2000, it was my pleasure to drive from Texas to London, Ontario (yes, driving to the one in UK would have been more difficult) to meet quite a few. It was there at a conference of the International Society for Individual Liberty that I met Lynn Atherton and her husband Roger Bloxham.

As with most libertarian relationships, our friendship has waxed and waned. We’ve been out of touch for times, and back in touch at others. Nevertheless, we’ve always had a pleasant relationship, based on mutual respect and trust.

Among my many regrets with respect to my ventures in Somalia going so badly awry, due to NATO intervention, was not getting a chance to put Roger’s dry dock technology to work for mutual benefit. The airport we were planning near our sea port would also, likely, have gotten a visit from Roger in one of his home built airplanes. These things were not to be. Many of our conversations include reminiscences.

But, recently, one was about a friend of Lynn’s from Oklahoma. Angela O’Dell had been hired to do ballot access work for the Barr campaign in West Virginia. I gather she is owed several thousand dollars for work actually performed. Moreover, she had contacted Shane Cory of the Barr campaign, who attempted to assure her that she would be paid.

Thus far she has not been paid. Lately, she has come to regret her choice in not making an issue of this matter during the campaign. Happily, just because the election is over doesn’t mean that the Barr campaign wraps up and goes away. They still have money – possibly even some donations still coming in. After they pay their debts, my understanding of federal election law is that the candidate gets to put in his pocket the remaining money. I’ve no idea how much that might be.

Anyway, it seems likely that this obligation doesn’t go away even if the campaign does. So, I am doing my part to help Angela get her money. It is also my intention, here, to continue to make clear to the libertarian community what kind of a guy Shane Cory is. I think we all know he was asked to resign as executive directrix of the LP when he began campaigning against Mary Ruwart while still in his job. He did resign, though the payments to him didn’t stop. I don’t believe he was ever censured for his part in the Andrew Davis press release calling for more federal spending.

As well, I think we all know what Shane said to one of the Campaign for Liberty organisers after the Barr snubgate fiasco. Those words were “go f#ck yourself.”

So, I don’t think he’s much of a man. I doubt he has anything like honor. But, he does have other people to report to. And he might be shamed into paying Angela. That would be nice.

Obviously, she’s asked to be paid. She’s offered to accept a partial payment with more to come later. She’s tried to work with the campaign on a payment plan. It isn’t much money to them – they had money to spend on limousine services to quite a hefty figure. But it is a lot of money to her. And wouldn’t it be nice to see her get paid?

Volunteers and paid petitioners do a lot of the heavy lifting for this community. They go out and get signatures on petitions. They go out and get voters to register for our parties. They go out and face the cops in places, get arrested at times, and do a lot of actual physical work – manning tables, moving things around to set up petition tables, talking for hours on end to people who are interested. They are our faces to the public.

So it would really be nice to treat them decently. It is really shameful that wretched men like Shane Cory get to screw decent, hard working individuals like Angela out of their pay. It is fraud, it is theft, and it is initiatory force.

It isn’t like Shane can do the right thing at this point without apologising for his misconduct and making an act of contrition. He got paid by the campaign, right? For all we know, he was hired and working for the campaign while still executive directrix. We certainly know that he was acting on behalf of one of the candidates for the nomination while he was paid to work for all the members of the party. So we know he’s unethical and sleazy in this way. And we cannot expect that he’s missed a pay check from the Barr campaign.

Angela has suffered. She did the work to get the money, not because the work is grand, not because West Virginia is a desirable destination resort community, but because she needed the money. And she hasn’t been paid. That’s wrong. And it is Shane’s fault. Shane should not only apologise, he should reach into his pocket to pay her interest on the funds she has had to make do without.

For my part, I would like to see him crawl on his hands and knees over broken glass from his home to hers as a thorough going act of contrition. Since I don’t expect him to do so, I don’t intend to forgive him. But I’m tough that way.

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Maybe the LP will nominate this guy next time around.  Seems like a modest improvement to me.

Old, Grizzled Third-Party Candidate May Steal Support From McCain

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I’ve heard a number of genuine, dyed-in-the-wool Libertarians lately talking about *not* voting for the party’s presidential candidate, Bob Barr.  There are a lot of folks who just don’t think he was a good choice and I can understand that.  That said, it’s important to consider all of the facts before making a decision like this one.  In this case, one important fact is that the number of votes for a presidential candidate impacts the number of delegates that one’s state gets to the LP national conventions.  This means that states with more people who support, and hence vote for, Barr are likely to get more national convention delegates than states with Libertarians who will refuse to vote for Barr on principle.  Think about it! Personally, I want the most principled individuals serving as delegates to the LP national conventions.  Of course, this advice is only what it is.  I’m not necessarily urging anyone to take any specific course of action.  What I am doing is urging everyone to consider all of the facts in this, as in any situation, prior to making a final decision.

I’ll be back later to read comments.  For now, I’m off to go vote for Bob Barr.

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I’ve previously listed the LP candidates here, here, here and here. Now, George Donnelly has turned this list into its own website with graphics and continuous updating. George explains:

An Effort to List all LP Candidates

We Libertarians need to know how many candidates we’re fielding for office. Which states are fielding full slates? no slates? Who are the candidates, what do they look like, what is their history, what are their positions and motivations?

This is all very basic but, before Libertarian Party Candidates (LPC), you could not find all this information in one place.

It’s important to see how well (or poorly) we Libertarians are doing at challenging the Republicrat duopoly at the ballot box. Hopefully LPC will serve as a measuring stick and as an incentive to run more and better candidates in 2010, 2012 and beyond.

Background

When Paulie pointed out in July of 2008 that LP.org doesn’t list all the Libertarian Party candidates running for office, it piqued my interest. How can we expect people to support and vote for Libertarian candidates if they don’t even know who they are – or even that they exist?

So, after chatting with Paulie, I decided that Libertarians might like a website where they can find all LP candidates in one convenient place.

Thanks to Paulie, the state parties and others that have collected the raw information presented here. All I did was design the site and enter the data.

Future Years

The site was built in a hurry during my spare time in the last couple weeks of July 2008, but I plan to significantly improve it for 2010 and beyond. Your sugestions and comments will help make that a reality.

Please Share your Feedback

Please feel free to contact me, George Donnelly, at me@georgedonnelly.com with any suggestions, ideas, complaints or whatever. I’m open to developing the project in new directions. I’m also interested in other strategies to advance the cause of liberty.

According to the site, the LP is running

* 15 for US Senate
* 109 for US House
* 5 for State Governor
* 4 for State Lt. Governor
* 1 for State Treasurer
* 3 for State Attorney General
* 2 for State Auditor
* 22 for Other State Offices
* 42 for State Senates
* 216 for State Houses
* 3 for Local Executives
* 26 for Local Legislatures
* 6 for Judge
* 12 for Sherriff or Constable
* 78 for Other Local Offices
* 546 Total LP candidates

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Rasmussen
reports that

Libertarian voters make up 4% of the nation’s likely voters and they favor Barack Obama over John McCain by a 53% to 38% margin. Three percent (3%) would vote for some other candidate and 5% are not sure. These results, from an analysis of 15,000 Likely Voter interviews conducted by Rasmussen Reports, challenges the conventional wisdom which assumes that strong support for a Libertarian candidate would hurt John McCain.

In June, Rasmussen Reports asked 15,000 Likely Voters if they were fiscally conservative, moderate, or liberal and if they were socially conservative, moderate, or liberal. This created a total of 16 possible combinations (not sure was a fourth option for both questions). However, 87% of voters fit into one of seven combinations. Libertarians, defined as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, are the smallest of these seven combinations.

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