Libertarian convention breaks fundraising records, elects new officers

2018 Libertarian National Convention delegates

The recently concluded Libertarian National Convention, held in New Orleans, set attendance and fundraising records. Preliminary figures indicate that this year’s convention may have surpassed the 2016 presidential nominating convention in both attendance and fundraising. Delegates elected a new slate of party officers, including reelecting Nicholas Sarwark to an unprecedented third consecutive term as chair of the Libertarian National Committee.

Alex Merced was elected on the third ballot to be the new vice chair, with 51 percent of the votes. Merced campaigned actively as a “unity” candidate, and received the endorsement of New York’s Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe. LP Indiana Chair Joe Hauptmann came in second, with 29 percent of the third ballot vote. Incumbent Vice Chair Arvin Vohra placed third with 10 percent. Shortly after the results were announced, Vohra announced he would seek the Libertarian nomination for president in 2020.

LNC Region 1 Representative Caryn Ann Harlos was elected to be the new LNC secretary, with 57 percent of the vote. She ran an active campaign for the position, attending many state LP conventions. She is also chair of the Historical Preservation Committee and has held dozens of positions in the Colorado Libertarian Party, and the Douglas County LP, and the Libertarian Radical Caucus. She received 57% of the vote. Incumbent Secretary Alicia Mattson placed second, with 36 percent of the vote, and went on to run for an at-large seat on the LNC, which she won. Jeff Wood received 6 percent.

In addition to Mattson, four people were elected to at-large seats: Sam Goldstein, Joe Bishop-Henchman, Bill Redpath, and Joshua Smith. Goldstein is a former chair of the Indiana Libertarian Party. Bishop-Henchman is executive vice president at the Tax Foundation and a Libertarian candidate for attorney general of the District of Columbia. Redpath is a certified public accountant, former chair of the LNC, and former chair of the LP Ballot Access Committee. Smith placed second to Sarwark in his campaign for LNC chair, and is a founding member of Think Liberty.

The seven people elected to the Judicial Committee were D. Frank Robinson, Chuck Moulton, Darryl Perry, Ruth Bennett, Geoff Neale, Jim Turney, and Tricia Sprankle. Robinson was one of the originators of the Libertarian Party Statement of Principles. Moulton has been LNC vice chair, chair of the national Bylaws Committee and Judicial Committee, and chair of both the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party and the Virginia Libertarian Party. Perry is the CEO of Liberty Lobby and has held multiple offices in the New Hampshire Libertarian Party. Bennett is former chair of both the Washington Libertarian Party and the Colorado Libertarian Party. Neale is a former LNC chair and former chair and treasurer of the Texas Libertarian Party. Turney is a former LNC chair and Libertarian congressional candidate in Virginia. Sprankle is an attorney and director of the Ohio Libertarian Party.

In addition to electing officers, the convention passed several resolutions. They included urging the president to pardon Ross Ulbricht, who is serving a life sentence in prison for charges of drug trafficking on the Silk Road website; condemning the Donald Trump administration for kidnapping and caging children on our southern border; and opposing H.R. 2851, which would give Attorney General Jeff Sessions broad power to further expand the destructive, counterproductive War on Drugs.

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