Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Will Bob Barr run as a fourth party candidate?

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You thought John McCain and Barack Obama might have troubles within their parties. Former Congressman Bob Barr is facing a tough fight for the Libertarian Party’s nomination at their convention.

Former Rep. Bob Barr will be an “underdog” for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination going into this week’s convention in Denver, the ex-Republican’s campaign manager said Monday.

“We definitely don’t expect to win it on the first ballot,” said Russ Verney, the Barr manager who shepherded Ross Perot’s third-party bids in 1992 and 1996. “The other [Libertarian] candidates have been out there recruiting delegates for over a year. Bob just declared his candidacy last week, so he’s definitely the underdog.”

After days of telephone calls soliciting support among LP delegates, Barr’s backers say that when the convention begins Thursday, they will be ready for a tough contest against a crowded field of Libertarian hopefuls, with several rounds of balloting likely.

Geez, what could be the trouble?

Because of his conservative past and relatively recent switch from the GOP, Barr is viewed with suspicion or hostility by many longtime LP members. At the North Carolina state party convention last month, Barr got only one vote in a straw poll that was won handily by Ruwart. (Noting that Ruwart had been active for many years in the North Carolina LP before moving to Texas, one libertarian wit dubbed the Tarheel State “Ruwartistan.”)

Under the rules governing the Libertarian nomination process, with unpledged delegates chosen by state party conventions, no candidate is expected to have a first-ballot majority. The field will be winnowed down as candidates are eliminated, with their supporters shifting to the remaining candidates.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” the anonymous Barr operative said, but added that he expects a “bloody fight” in Sunday’s vote, possibly stretching into “the wee hours” of Monday morning.

Adams said he expects the contest to be waged between Libertarian “purists” who fault Barr for his conservatism and “pragmatists” who see the benefit of nominating a nationally known candidate with proven political ability.

I am not sure what Barr’s proven political ability is, since he basically was squeezed out during the reapportionment process in Georgia and lost the GOP primary.

The other candidates in contention at the convention:
Las Vegas oddsmaker Wayne Allyn Root, longtime LP activists Mary Ruwart and George Phillies, ex-Democrat Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, and Mr. Spock.

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