Las Vegas Chosen for 2012 Libertarian Convention
By Mike A. Bozarth
The Libertarian Party has announced it will hold it’s 2012 national convention in Las Vegas to pick it’s presidential nominee.
The Libertarian Party is the nation’s third-largest political party. About 250,000voters are registered as Libertarians. There are 152 Libertari-ans elected to public office and about 300 more in appointive positions.
Las Vegas beat out San Francisco and Dallas to host the event.They will meet May 4-6 at the Red Rock Resort.
The Republican national convention it set to begin August 27 in Tampa, FL. The Democrats, whose convention starts September 3, has yet to choose from Cleveland, Charlotte, NC, Minneapolis and St. Louis.
The Libertarians hold their nominating convention at an earlier date to aid in ballot qualification efforts.
Unlike the conventions for the major parties, which feature choreographed crownings of presidential nominees every four years, the Libertarians battle it out on the floor, with the best man or woman winning the nod.
While the Libertarians do have some primaries and caucuses to win delegates, most states send uncommitted delegates to the convention.
Missouri has a non-binding preferential primary.
“It should be a very interesting dogfight,” Wayne Allyn Root, the Libertarian vice presidential nominee in 2008 and a potential front-runner for the 2012 contest said.
Root, 49, of suburban Las Vegas, initially sought the top-of-the-ticket spot in 2008, only to throw his support behind the eventual nominee, Bob Barr. An oddsmaker, Root writes books and a weekly column that appears in the opinion section of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He also appears frequently on Fox News as a commentator.
Barr, a former House member from Georgia who quit the GOP to join the Libertarian Party in 2006, won more than 500,000 votes in 2008, about .4% of all votes cast in that presidential election.
Others seeking the 2008 Libertar-ian nomination included former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska–who had ran against Obama in the Democratic primaries; author Mary Ruwart; Steve Kubby, a medical marijuana activist; businessman Michael Jingozian: and George Phillies, a college professor.
Besides Root, speculation about potential Libertarian presidential candidates is focused on Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, former Reform Party Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a Republican who could run in the GOP primary as well.
Making A Difference
While Libertarians have been noted for bringing several issues to the table, the Democratic and Republican-controlled Debate Commission sets it’s requirements high enough to prevent the Libertarian nominee from being included in national debates.
CSPAN and some local television stations have broadcast a “minor-party” debate among Libertarian, Green, and Constitution party candidates.
The main presidential debates helped contribute to Independent Ross Perot, a Texas billionaire, be-ing a real contender in 1992 when he got 19 percent of the vote. In the end, Democrat Bill Clinton won. In 1968, Gov. George Wallace carried five states and won about 14 percent of the vote as the American Independent Party candidate.
I have long thought that for the Libertarian Party to be able to raise enough money and gain the exposure needed to run a competitive race it needs to nominate a celebrity.
The best known libertarian in the country–Clint Eastwood–has declined repeated requests to run on the party’s ticket.
I believe other libertarian celebrities, such as Tom Selleck, John Stossell, and Drew Carey could also attract a record number of voters to the party’s ticket.
In 1988, actor and American Indian activist Russell Means lost the Libertarian nomination to Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. In 2002 movie producer Aaron Russo lost the nomination to Michael Badnarick–a little known Constitu-tional scholar from Texas.
Were the Libertarians to nominate Paul, Ventura or Johnson (for credibility) with Selleck, Stossell or Carey on the ticket(for exposure), the Libertarians not only would be competitive, but have a real shot at winning.