When former Republican Rep. Bob Barr announced that he would seek the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, many assumed he’d get the party
May 26, 2008

When former Republican Rep. Bob Barr announced that he would seek the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, many assumed he’d get the party’s nod. After all, he’s a fairly high-profile figure who’d be in a position to help Libertarians raise their profile and win some votes.

But Barr wasn’t about to get the nomination without a fight. For one thing, there are other party leaders who’ve been around a lot longer and who felt like it wasn’t Barr’s turn. For another, Barr isn’t entirely ideologically pure — he supports less government and lower taxes, but the Libertarian worldview/platform demands almost no government and practically no taxes.

It took a while — six rounds of balloting — but eventually, over the weekend, Barr won out.

Barr beat research scientist Mary Ruwart, who also sought the party’s presidential nomination unsuccessfully in 1983, on the final ballot. The vote was 324-276.

Barr endorsed Wayne Allyn Root, who was eliminated in the fifth round, to be his vice-presidential nominee. […]

The former Georgia congressman said he’s not in the race to be a spoiler. “I’m a competitor and I’m in this to win. I do not view the role of the Libertarian Party to be a spoiler and I certainly have no intention of being a spoiler,” Barr said.

Barr said he expects the party to be on the ballot in at least 48 states and perhaps all 50 if the party can qualify in West Virginia and Oklahoma. Barr said he also expects to be invited to the national political debates by qualifying with poll support of 15 percent or more of registered voters.

Barr probably shouldn’t count too much on that debate idea, given that he’s going to have a very hard time getting to 15% in the national polls.

Nevertheless, the party is already on the ballot in 28 states, and is currently gathering petitions in another 20, and may actually be in a position to have an impact this year.

Noah Millman had an item last week in which he argued, “I’m becoming increasingly convinced that Bob Barr’s candidacy could have a significant impact on the 2008 election.” He makes a compelling case, not that Barr could actually win a state or electoral vote, but rather that Barr will be in a position to draw votes from John McCain by appealing to disaffected Republicans.

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