Interesting LP Convention Predicted for NY

With the internal debate over the nominations of Kevin Zeese and Loretta Nall out of the way, I was hoping for a bit of a breather. However, I’m expecting to some heated debate tomorrow at the NY Libertarian Party convention. From the NY Sun:

With little fanfare, a Republican candidate for governor, William Weld, is expected to be nominated by the Libertarian Party on Saturday at its convention in Albany.

As far as minor parties go in New York, the Libertarians are on the petite side. Their enrollment of about 800 could squeeze inside your average high school cafeteria.

By endorsing Mr. Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts, the Libertarians would be making a bid to become a player in the crowded field of third parties in New York. Leaders of the party say a key aim is to use the nomination to influence Republican policy on issues like marijuana legalization, Rockefeller drug laws, and eminent domain.


Mr. Weld rejects one of the party’s main tenets, the legalization of drugs. The Libertarian Party’s candidate in 2002 was Scott Jeffrey, who ran on a platform of legalizing marijuana and won 5,000 votes. A large fraction of New York’s Libertarians are also firmly opposed to the war in Iraq. The party put out a press release six months ago calling for a withdrawal of American troops and urging anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan to run against Senator Clinton.


If Mr. Weld in the November election receives at least 50,000 votes on the Libertarian line, then the party would be awarded with an automatic position on the ballot for at least the next four years.

If that happens, their endorsement would suddenly become a hot commodity. The ambition of party leaders is to use prominent ballot placement to challenge the Conservatives for the role of Republican kingmaker.


“The expectation is that we could replace the Conservatives in a kingmaker situation,” the party’s chairman, John Clifton, a social worker in Queens, said. He said he would like the party to use that leverage to “influence Republicans on Rockefeller and legalizing marijuana.” New York’s Rockefeller drug laws, which were adopted while Nelson Rockefeller was governor in 1973, mandate long prison sentences for those convicted of drug crimes. He said he hoped his party would follow the trajectory of the Green Party, which grew exponentially between 1998 and 2002, to about 30,000 members.

So obvious question for New York Libertarians will be: Do they prefer to make some advances on marijuana legalization, Rockefeller drug laws, and eminent domain while obtaining ballot status — or would they rather get 5,000 votes and adhere to an absolute position on drug policy reform?

  1. While I’m far from a New Yorker, if the question were put to me, the answer would be inevitable: Results beat out positions without question.

    That is all.

  2. Also look to see if former green Steve Greenfield is nominated over party stalwart Jeff Russell. Greenfiled is seeking the Greens nomination also. His fusion strategy is designed to put up a united third party effort to go at Hillary.

    The NYLP held an Eminent Domain rally at the capital today. Good weather and spirits replaced some trepidation about the sound system and hosted many of the statewide candidates.

    Sam H. Sloan annouced today, his intention to seek the Governor’s seat. Donald Silberger, the 2002 Senatorial candidate and mathematics professor, said he was looking forward to a ‘conversation’ with Weld rather than a fight.

    Our campaign took its first baby steps on the steps with the first political speech of my life. Hopefully we’ll have all or parts of the rally available on Google video or YouTube.

    I’ll be at the convention tommorrow and will try to ‘blog’ out immediate results of any and all decisions. Remember “LP’rs” is not all about Badnarik and pledges.

  3. The question is whether the LPNY wants to be a vote siphon or a party, and whether their gubernatorial nominee gets them toward one of these ends. In NY politics, the virtue of being a vote siphon party can be graft jobs for party officers, or it cna be an influence on politics.

  4. I was a candidate for the Attorney General, some years back (against Dan Abrams (for whom I’d previously worked as an AG intern, LOL!).

    As I recall, I forgot to show up for a convention that year. My most recent employment precludes political activity of this sort.

    I (think that I still) love the NYLP, but recall with chagrin the time that they got sucked into the Howard Stern mess. This was also calculated to be a fusion type approach.

    … ehhh.

  5. Mr. Weld rejects one of the party’s main tenets, the legalization of drugs

    Does anyone know what his position is on marijuana legalization? If he’s against complete drug legalization but in favor of marijuana legalization, I would still support him (if I lived in NY), as a good first step.

  6. I know Don Silberger and respect him. He is the ‘fire’ of the NYLP. Here’s what he said in a TU Interview.

    “People think if (Weld) runs on our line this will give us 50,000 votes and consider that an unmitigated good,” Silberger said. “I’m not sure of either of those.”

    But Silberger said he could be persuaded to step aside.

    “If I were convinced that he would run a Libertarian campaign, that he wouldn’t misrepresent us in any area, and there would be some areas he would definitely take Libertarian positions, and furthermore if he occasionally mentioned he was running on our lines … that would serve democracy as well,” he said. “If he did that, I would be quite happy and I certainly wouldn’t want to impede him.”

    I think this is a fair statement from an “Elder Lp’r who has fought the good fight for thirty years. Give him some credit
    ye youthful reformers.

  7. Scott,

    If the NYLP gets 5,000 votes with Weld as nominee, what has been lost? Nothing. And certainly, they will have achieved much more than by running another non-campaign campaign…which are the only campaigns which could receive so few votes statewide.

    Or, are people of principle so inept?

    The NYLP has endured more than three decades, largely under some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation. They’ve overcome some of those massive hurdles. Gaining permanent status is the next thing to achieve. This is one way to do it.

    How many press mentions of the LP have been attributed to both Howard Stern and now Weld? I was in NY in ’94, wehn Stern ran briefly, and I’m sure the number of press reports I saw were the most the LPNY has achieved at any time in history.

    When Bob Schulz replaced him, it was to challenge the ballot access restrictions and the resulting victories in court greatly improved the ballot access situation.

  8. George Phillies,

    There is a quick way for any of the LP’s presidential candidates to establish they know how to campaign. Get up to New York between now and November, and get the LPNY nominee 50,000 votes. Whoever can do that shows they are capable of running a national campaign worthy of Liberty.

  9. my question is when did Weld become a card-carrying Libertarian? Are his dues paid up? I guess my real point here is fine, he wants a third-party, and the Libertarians are here, but I’d think he needs to show some real proof that he’s commited to the LP, like cross-pollinating other campaigns and running fundraisers for the LP as a whole rather than just his candidacy. LINOs are fine in the ranks, but they shouldn’t be up front in the candidacy positions without some real efforts at making it worthwhile for the LP. TANSTAAFL, baby.

  10. Scott,

    Interesting question. My gut reaction would be that we’d need to start looking for some tool other than the LP lessen the size and scope of government.