Monday, July 04, 2016

From the Archives: Libertarian Party chair Nicholas Sarwark predicts ‘epic’ national convention

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on May 26, 2016, during the Libertarian Party's national convention in Orlando, Florida.  The publishing platform was discontinued Friday, July 1, and its web site is scheduled to go dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

Libertarian Party chair Nicholas Sarwark predicts ‘epic’ national convention

In an interview on the eve of the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominating convention in Orlando, Florida, today, the party’s national chairman, Nicholas Sarwark, predicted that the weekend is “going to be epic.”

Sarwark told the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner in an exclusive interview at the Rosen Centre Hotel that “this may be the biggest Libertarian national convention that we’ve ever had. There are a couple, like 1979 in Los Angeles, that may be similar in size.”

Considering the space in the convention hall, he said, “we will be close to our theoretical maximum for delegates. For observers, we’re probably pushing 500.” The number of delegates, he said, will be more than 950 and possibly as many as 1,000.

As a result of the gathering – which has delegations from every state except Oregon, where the affiliate chose not to send delegates to the national convention – “ Orlando is the center of the American political landscape,” said Sarwark. “This is the eye of the storm. This is the biggest thing happening in politics right now, so I expect it’s going to be very exciting.”

‘Toughest and best choice’
Referring to the presidential contest, which includes former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, software entrepreneur John McAfee, and former Fox News producer Austin Petersen as well as about a dozen others – Sarwark said that the field includes “some of the best candidates that I’ve ever seen vie for our nomination and these delegates have probably the toughest and best choice in my memory.”

The Libertarian Party is also attracting a lot of attention from the news media, he said.

“I have not been off the phone with reporters for the last three weeks. Ever since Cruz dropped out after Indiana,” Sarwark explained, “it has been non-stop. I’ve talked to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Hill, POLITICO, Reason.” He said he had an interview scheduled with C-SPAN and another with CNN later in the day.

“Every minute of my time at this convention that’s not at a business session is basically booked with interviews,” he added.

The attention is well-earned, he noted.

‘Our time to shine’
“It’s been 45 years that we’ve been waiting for this opportunity, doing the hard work of building the state parties, getting ballot access in all fifty states, and this is our time to shine.”

The party aims to have at least 1,000 candidates on the ballot across the United States in 2016, “including president, senate, congress, governor, state house, state senate, dog catcher.”

The LP, Sarwark said, has been trying “to fill the ballot every state, every election, all the time, because every American deserves to have a Libertarian option on their ballot.”

The “wasted vote” that some people warn about, is “when a person wakes up and says, ‘You know, I’m not going to vote for the two old parties anymore. I’m just done with it. I’m tired of them lying to me. I’m tired of the bullying, I’m tired of the fear tactics, I’m going to vote Libertarian’” but when they get into the voting booth and “there’s not a libertarian on their ballot – that’s a wasted vote. Those are the wasted votes that I want to catch.”

The Libertarian Party convention continues through Memorial Day. The presidential and vice presidential nominations will take place on Sunday morning, May 29, following a nationally televised debate on C-SPAN Saturday evening, May 28.

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