Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Libertarian Candidate Recruitment for 2008

Sean Haugh, political director for the Libertarian Party, sent the following out by email today:

"Howdy all! Now is the time when candidates who want to win in November have already begun their campaigns and when state parties are turning their attention to recruiting candidates for their slates. As Political Director, my first priority is to support our candidates and to help you any way I can in this process. Please start sending me any information you have about your candidates at sean.haugh(at) or call me at202-288-9853 with any questions, concerns or needs. Also please feel free to forward this message, taken from an upcoming LP News article, in whole or in part if you feel it will help with your own recruitment efforts.

The Libertarian Party of Texas has started the 2008 election season with a bang, filing 210 candidates for partisan offices on January 2nd.
Congratulations to Wes Benedict and his team for turning in such a superlative slate!

The next big filing deadline comes in late February in California, where master candidate recruiter Ted Brown has already mobilized 68 candidates for U.S. Congress and State Assembly. California also is a hotbed of local Libertarian officeholders, including Norm “Firecracker” Westwell, who will be running for reelection to the Ocean View School Board. With such a great start to the campaign season, there will be plenty of strong Libertarian candidates to help elect in 2008.

Such gaudy numbers should not deter you from recruiting your own slates of candidates. In 2006, Kansas, Louisiana and South Dakota in particular used what for those states were record slates to build their affiliate up to the next levels of activity. This year, Libertarians in Maine are already planning campaigns around which they can reinvigorate their state party.

There are a number of great reasons why Libertarians would run for office, even in races where the odds of victory are long. Every candidate receives invitations for media exposure and opportunities to spread the Libertarian message that we otherwise would have to struggle to get. As a candidate for public office, you also have an easy way to walk up to anyone and start a positive conversation about Liberty. Libertarian candidates have the ability to raise issues not currently being discussed and make them part of the local or statewide political agenda. Any campaign volunteers recruited can easily be turned into more active Party members after the election.

For many, the main reason to run for office is that it’s fun! It feels great to be constantly asked for your opinion on the issues that mean the most to you, and to be invited to meet new people to spread the good news of Liberty.

The biggest piece of media in any election is the ballot itself. When voters are see that Libertarians are running for office at every level of government, they are impressed by a party that is a grassroots movement and ready to lead. Even if you only receive a small percentage of the vote, opinion makers and opposing politicians take notice and realize they have to answer to our portion of the electorate. Quite often our candidates form relationships by campaigning which last them well beyond the election, sometimes which unexpectedly pleasant results. Ballot Access News noted a few years back that the majority of positive ballot access bills introduced in state legislatures over the previous decade had been sponsored by people who had faced a Libertarian opponent in the previous election.

Politics is about far more than ideology and platforms. We need to put a human face on Libertarianism, and being a candidate is easily the best way to do that. Quite often, people form their opinions about our party based on how they feel about the first Libertarian they met. You have that opportunity to be that first contact for the voters in your district.

If you are interested in running for office as a Libertarian in 2008, first consider your goals. If you wish to be an ambassador of the Libertarian Party and increase your political or professional network, you may prefer to run for a larger office which allows you the most media exposure. However if your goal is to win, look for more local opportunities down the ballot for a race that makes winning possible.

Please feel free to contact our Political Director, Sean Haugh, at sean.haugh(at) or by phone at 202-288-9853 if you are interested in running for office as a Libertarian in 2008, or even if you are just thinking about it and want to find out more. Your own state party also has resources and vital information to help you get started down the campaign trail.

yours in liberty –
Sean Haugh
Political Director"

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