A few hours with the Smither campaign

ssqquote.gifFor those of you not already aware, I’ve just hit the ground in Texas doing what my boss described this way earlier today in an e-mail:

“I’ve also recently deployed our communications director, Stephen Gordon, to help with the top campaign in our Candidate Tracker.”

I’ll try to keep ya’ll up-to-date on what’s happening on the ground here and I hope to spend time with quite a few Texas candidates while in the Lone Star State.

More people have offered to buy me beer than I can accept for the time I’ll be here, so please don’t be too offended if I miss out on a round from time to time; I’ve got some serious work to do and it’s getting close to Election Day. I’ll be blogging (hopefully starting tomorrow) about what I see and hear down here over at the LP blog. Please be sure to stop by often over the next ten days or so.

The short view of what happened today was that it was an incredibly productive day from a campaign viewpoint. My initial perception is that Bob Smither and Kevin Tunstall (his campaign manager) have a great idea of what they need to do at ground zero. What they don’t have are the resources the Dems and Repubs are plugging into this race from a national level. They also require some of the vendor, technical and other contacts required to make the difference in a race suddenly turned high profile.

We primarily focused on fundraising today. Fortunately, I’ve got contacts with national lists the campaign will be able to utilize. They fully closed one deal, verbally closed another and we are working on a third. For those of you who have worked national campaigns, you know the dance required with these negotations. To have done this in a matter of hours is incredible.

They’ve got a lot of good stuff going on the ground. They’ve got a very organized ground crew knocking on doors most days. They may be paying a bit too much for yard signs, but I know more competitive vendors they may be able to use. They’ve got good voter lists and have used them to place over 60,000 phone calls, so far. The candidate has a public event almost every day. Tomorrow, he’ll face Lampson and the key write-in Republican in a forum at a local country club. They plan to continue these sorts of efforts until Election Day.

While we were busy on these sorts of details, the Republican WRITE-IN candidate with the difficult to spell name (I generally refer to her as the “Hyphen-Lady”, but am hoping one of you has a better suggestion) held a fundraiser. She brought in the ever-so-popular Dick Cheney, accompanied by the ever-so-ethical Tom DeLay, to raise what Kristen Mack reported to be around $200K.

Ms. Houston Smoking Ban might have done better and thrown some higher cards down on the table. Perhaps in addition to DeLay and Cheney, she should have played the Mark Foley, Tom Reynolds and Dennis Hastert cards. Unfortunately for her, there are but two jokers in a standard deck.

At this moment, all I can do is laugh. $200K is chump change compared to what ya’ll have provided campaigns with which I’ve been involved in the past. One can tell how badly the GOP is blowing up when Libertarians have the ability to outperform Republicans.

Disclaimer: While Stephen Gordon has not received any compensation from any current Texas political campaign, he is a paid employee of the Libertarian National Committee.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. Awesome news! Thanks to National for getting involved. I must now eat my words for accusing them of “not doing anything” in the past….

    More donations on the way.

  2. I gave a bit to Smither, but I’m basically broke due to my health concerns. My money goes to medical bills these days. My Chemo pills cost 400 bucks a month with health insurance. ($10K a bottle without).

    So I cant do what I would like for everyone this cycle.

    When I get tired of it all, I remember what the LP was like circa 1999 and what the goals were then compared to today.
    There is progress. Refocusing a company takes time and much effort, and the people who liked it the way it was always make life miserable. The LP is just another company that’s restructuring to make a wider mass appeal product where a narrow appeal product has been. ( I hope. )

    A “stretchy libertarianism” that can bring in a broad spectrum of people from differing backgrounds and not eat each other will be successful.

    I remain hopeful that the LP can remake itself in a different and more effective image, even if I do get pissed at times with this. My country is at stake.

  3. Very interesting report. Good analysis.

    Have Smither’s Campaign and y’all thought about oldtimer Libertarian Party donors?

    There are some folks who used to give tens of thousands of dollars to the Libertarian Party in years past, who haven’t been hit up in a while. Perhaps a fresh approach to them, using the Smither campaign might work?

    I personally know of a handful of these guys.

    Give me a call to discuss if you get a moment free 979-799-7077.

  4. “SPECIAL EDITION: Due to technical problems, we’re temporarily offering news and information from the Houston Chronicle in this simplified format.”

    All of the chron.com links are down. Geez.

  5. Well, I read about Cheney’s visit on the AP wires…someone should have told them Smithers is in the race. Guess there’s a pattern here when you put Guthrie’s case in bed with Smithers. “Libertarian? What Libertarian?”….Doesn’t matter how much money you get, does it?

  6. The national LP just sent out a mailing urging Libertarians to support Smithers and other Libertarian candidates. Hopefully this will raise a good amount of money for Smithers.

  7. I just returned from the FBC Chamber of Commerce meet the candidate luncheon. Bob hit a homer and Shelly & Nick had a hard time following up. Bob becomes more comfortable in front of a crowd as we go.

    The press was there as well (CH 2) and had Bob in front of the cameras for an extended period of time. I am unsure how their coverage will be.

  8. Reminds me of the scene in “Pulp Fiction” where they’ve got the dead body in the car and they’re on the phone with Marcellus Wallace.

    “You’re sending Stephen Gordon down here? Fuck man, that’s all you needed to say!”

  9. OT:

    well, I had a full body grand mal seizure today while riding in my truck and had to be 911’ed and hauled in a ambulance to Winchester Medical Canter. Caused by low drug levels.

    Didn’t have a good day. :( Grand Mal seizures are painful as hell and it’s not fun to watch your body assume impossible contortions. Can I trade in this year on another one? 2006 is suckin. I’m home now thank god.

  10. Holy shit dude, hope that doesn’t happen again. Stay safe, you’re in my prayers.

  11. SMITHER can WIN !

    He leads the Republican write-in candidate 25% to 11%, with 23% of the voters totally confused and up in the air.

    He supports REDUCING Fed spending by $1 yr-over-yr—- a feat not done in the past century.


    This is a NATIONAL campaign to elect the FIRST Libertarian EVER to Congress.

    SMITHER needs $$$$$$$$$ and buzzzzzzzz.




  12. I believe the news in this race is that Smither is NOT covered. I’ve watched cspan cover this race (the latest being the Cheney support for his devilette) and they have not mentioned him. Perhaps the Delay sulfer has hurt their brains.

  13. Correct. The media is ignoring Smither, no matter what the poll numbers say, no matter the press releases issued.

    This race requires NATIONAL effort to swamp the District 22 media, large and small, with SMITHER-EENS of fact, opinion, attention. Smither needs $$$$$$$ and buzzzzzz.

    This is a WIN. Let’s NOT let it slip through our fingers.

  14. Sent this letter to journal@c-span.org. Perhaps others can add their opinions.


    Dear producers,

    I’ve seen on Washington Journal and in a Cheney rally for a write-in candidate coverage of Delay’s old Congressional seat. Yet no mention of the Libertarian candidate Bob Smither. What’s the problem? I do not see this same noncoverage of all candidates polling second in U.S. Congressional Districts.

    I hope you have Mr. Smither as a guest to make up for this terrible mistake.


    Thanks for your prompt attention.

    Ed Gluck, Terre Haute, IN

  15. From an AP story:

    Associated Press
    WASHINGTON – By dropping off the ballot, Republican Tom DeLay may have given a boost to a Libertarian candidate in the race for the former majority leader’s House seat.

    Bob Smither said voters in the Houston-area district have been pledging support in phone calls. He also said he has seen a spike in contributions as the GOP wrangled over who to back as a write-in candidate.

    Smither now thinks there’s possibility in a once-near impossible situation.

    “Clearly the fact Mr. DeLay has been removed from the ballot is a huge benefit to me,” he said.

    “This is a very conservative district and although I’m a Libertarian I’m fiscally conservative. I share a lot of values with what the Republicans purport to stand for and if I can get that message out there to what I would call the Goldwater Republicans, I think they’ll support me,” he said.

    Barry Goldwater was an Arizona senator and failed 1964 presidential candidate considered

  16. Bob and his staff are doing a good job to this point. With national party help, perhaps enough funds can be raised to really make a difference. I plan to make an additional contribution. I am convinced that this race is winnable, but Bob is going to need our financial support as well as our volunteer time. Give as much of each as you can spare.

  17. The NY Times does NOT have Smither listed as a candidate in Dist 22. Write them at:


    Also, tell the Times that Smither is a viable candidate, a WINNER, who should get, at the least a couple of good human interest stories:


    Tell the Times they are missing the historic victory of the FIRST Libertarian ever elected to Congress.

    Dist 22 poll:

    Lampson, D @ 41%
    SMITHER, L @ 25%
    Undecided @ 23%
    Sekula-Gibbs, R @ 11% (write-in candidate)

    Tell the Times the Rs are falsifying polls by asking: Would you vote for Lampson or Sekula-Gibbs WITHOUT saying she’s not on the ballot and WITHOUT ever mentioning Smither’s name.
    The Ds are falsifying by asking: Would you vote for Lampson, Democrat, or Smither, “Liberal” Party?
    (“Liberal” is kiss of death in south Tx.)

    What’s worse, 90% of Americans don’t know the difference between Libertarian and Liberal.

    Congressman Smither could quickly change that ignorance.

  18. Lloyd, the NY Times will never cover Libertarians.

    In 1988, we in the Ron Paul, Libertarian for President Campaign gave the NY Times a $40,000 check for a one time full-page ad. They promised us an ad and a front page article about the Ron Paul Campaign. They took our money, and never ran the article.

    The Times hates Libertarians because Libertarians make Republicans look like middle-of-the-roaders. They can’t bash Republicans if Libertarians who really want to cut government are given any sort of credibility.

    Don’t you get it?

  19. Look, the Liberal media will NOT cover Bob Smither.

    What we can do is get all over the Left-wing Blogs like DailyKos and the Huffington Report, and load them up with posts about Bob’s campaign and the effect of the Libertarian Party in this year’s elections.

    We can also call into talk radio. Conservative radio talk show hosts are much, much, much more inclined to let libertarians on the air, than Liberal radio.

    I’ve gotten on tons of national Conservative talk shows easily like Michael Medved and such. Every single time I’ve called into a Liberal show, the minute I said I was a libertarian to the screener, CLICK!

    Liberals hate us. At least Conservatives will listen to us.

    Call into as many Conservative talk shows as possible the next few weeks and mention Smither!

    If you’re in the Houston area call KPRC Pat Gray, Michael Berry and KTRH Chris Baker. All three are libertarian conservatives.

  20. “In 1988, we in the Ron Paul, Libertarian for President Campaign gave the NY Times a $40,000 check for a one time full-page ad. They promised us an ad and a front page article about the Ron Paul Campaign. They took our money, and never ran the article.” — Eric Dondero

    While I’m certainly no fan of the New York Times, I’m afraid Eric Dondero is making things up again. That’s so Republican of him. While Ron Paul never appeared on the front page, the NY Times actually published four or five articles about Ron Paul’s candidacy in 1988, including a rather sympathetic 1,046-word feature article by veteran reporter Andrew Rosenthal. Rosenthal’s article, which appeared on page A16 of the October 17, 1988, edition, was titled, “Now for a Real Underdog: Ron Paul, Libertarian, for President.” The Times actually gave Paul more coverage than any other third-party presidential candidate that year, including the New Alliance Party’s Lenora Fulani, who was on the ballot in all fifty states.

  21. Lloyd, the NY Times will never cover Libertarians.

    Eric Dondero: That so explains why the NYT has libertarian John Tierney on their payroll as a columnist.

    Wait, no it doesn’t… please enlighten me on that.

  22. michael medved is one of the most hostile to libertarians I have ever heard. I’ve never actually hrd him say libertarian, he always says losertarian in it’s place.

    Medved is no buddy to libertarians, he hates them.

  23. Eric is right.


  24. Medved is an actual hardcore authoritarian, not even a conservative, although there isn’t much difference, especially these days.

  25. Darcy, I worked for the Campaign. I was there. Nadia Hayes, the Campaign Manager was furious with the NY Times. So was Campaign Advisors Lew Rockwell and Burt Blumert.

    They did not deliver on what was promised for the $40,000. Yes, they covered the campaign. But they promised a heluva lot more than they delivered.

    I don’t remember you being around back then? What’s your background with Ron Paul?

  26. “Medved is an actual hardcore authoritarian, not even a conservative, although there isn’t much difference, especially these days.”

    Medved is one of the worst – if not the worst – of the neo-con talk radio crowd.

  27. If anyone can think of a bigger scumbag with a large hate radio audience, I would like to know.

  28. Generally “left” media such as NPR have been better at covering Libertarian and 3rd party candidates in general than most corporate/commercial media.

  29. The only one that I can think of is Rush Limbaugh, but at least Rush can be entertaining as a radio host (although I can no longer stomach him myself). Medved is just a jackass. His movie reviews suck too.

  30. No, I’m pretty sure Medved is even worse than Limburgher.

    Flush manages to be right every once in a while although it is becoming more and more rare, but when is the last time Medved got anything right?

    You can just reverse everything he says and pretty much get it right every time.

  31. Paulie: not my experience. I can guarantee you here that NHPR will slant the story anti-libertarian every single time, regardless of the reporter they send. I’ve seen it happen too often to think otherwise. Luckily we have some positive media outlets as well.

  32. “I don’t remember you being around back then? What’s your background with Ron Paul?” — Eric Dondero

    Eric — I wasn’t involved with Ron Paul’s 1988 campaign, but I followed it closely. I’m sure nobody at HoT cares about this ancient history, but at the time I was pretty friendly with a number of Libertarians in Pennsylvania, including then-state chair John Famularo. I was managing the late Eugene McCarthy’s campaign on the tiny Philadelphia-based Consumer Party ticket that year. A few of our backers that year included Libertarians who had supported Russell Means during his unsuccessful bid for the LP’s presidential nomination at the party’s 1987 national convention in Seattle.

    McCarthy, who had been generally sympathetic to the Libertarian Party during the early 1980s, was a close personal friend of Roger MacBride, the LP’s presidential standard-bearer in 1976. They didn’t live too far apart in rural Virginia and had become fast friends during the ’76 campaign. (Cont’d.)

  33. (Cont’d.)

    McCarthy also appeared in a television commercial for Ed Clark in 1980, but by the late 1980s the former Minnesota senator — a man without a party if there ever was one — thought the LP had drifted too far to the Right, that it had become “too extreme.” I tended to agree.

    In any case, I subscribed to the NY Times in those days, so I was sort of envious when Ron Paul received as much coverage as he did. I think he was mentioned in more than a dozen articles and was certainly deserving of such coverage. Maybe I misread your comments (#30), but it sounded like you were implying that the NY Times refused to publish any articles about Paul’s campaign, even after advertising to the tune of $40,000 in that paper. If that’s not what you were implying, then I apologize. Then again, Eric, don’t you think it would have been highly unethical for the NY Times, or any other reputable news outlet, to promise a front-page article in exchange for advertising revenue?

  34. (Cont’d.)

    Other than perhaps Fox News, there’s not a reputable major news organization in the country that would tolerate such a thing. I mean, there is a thing called journalistic integrity, right?

  35. Hmmn, interesting Darcy. Quite interesting.

    Yes, I know all about Roger’s friendship with Eugene McCarthy. I was Roger’s Personal Political Aide down in Florida from 1991 til his untimely death in early 1995. Roger loved to tell the story over gin and tonics at his giant mansion in South Beach, about the time him and McCarthy shared a plane ride in a cessna to a campaign event, and the plane crashed. They were so snockered that nobody cared. (Noone was injured except for a few bruises).

    Interesting factoid:

    You all remember hearing about one of the BeeGees who died of a heart attack a few years ago? Well, he had bought Roger’s South Beach mansion. And he died in the exact same room as Roger; the bedroom.