Texas Libertarian Party officials successfully stopped a bill in the State Legislature that would have forced Libertarians to nominate their candidates at both taxpayer and greater party expense.
HB 1892, sponsored by Republican State Rep. Leo Berman of Tyler, would have required all political parties to nominate their candidates through taxpayer-funded primaries, ending the practice of nomination by convention employed by the Libertarian Party. Not only would it have cost taxpayers $37.5 million over the next 10 years, it would have forced smaller parties to expend additional manpower and party resources to fan out over Texas to conduct a statewide primary, rather than just hold a privately-funded convention.
As someone who’s run major party campaigns in Texas, I can tell you that running in a primary is much more expensive and time-consuming than conducting a convention. Libertarian Party of Texas Operations Manager Arthur Dibianca found Berman’s bill concealed among hundreds of active bills.
That’s when Executive Director Robert Butler, a former congressional staffer, quietly paid a visit to the office of every member of the Texas House Elections Committee, armed with a 6th Circuit Court federal court decision from Ohio declaring the content of HB 1892 unconstitutional.
Thanks to the professional staff at the Libertarian Party of Texas, the scheduled hearing on the compulsory primaries bill was promptly canceled.