Steve G.

More money? For what, exactly?

In Libertarian on August 18, 2008 at 12:44 pm

A sort of open letter to the LP’s Andrew Davis:

Andrew, you’ve asked for our help in finishing the ballot drive (for Bob Barr, apparently; not-so-much the LP, but that’s a discussion for another day). You write:

Getting Bob on the ballot in as many states as possible is a great way of gaining attention for all Libertarian candidates & helps build the numbers! However, even after the LP and Bob’s campaign spent almost $500,000.00 on ballot access, we are still coming up $50,000 short and we need to finish the job in the next two weeks.

Well, Andrew, many Libertarians do want to help get the LP’s candidates on the ballot. However, given the recent string of misses, mis-steps, and we’re-going-to-court letters from the LP and the Barr campaign, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a written account of how the money will be spent. Would you share with us the plan for spending this $50,000 to get the remaining states on the ballot? A simple back-of-the-envelope calculation would be fine. For example: with 50K, we would spend 35K on paid petitioners to get 20K signatures in states X, Y, and Z, and the balance would be spent on administrative and overhead costs.

Donors are much more likely to give if they trust that their contributions will be effective – and much of that trust has been eroded over the past month. Just asking for the money at this point seems like an invitation to throw good money after bad. LPers need something more to go on; to give confidence that the job will get done (as much as it’s possible for it to get done at this stage). And, to be brutally honest, hand-waving  about Barr polling 15% and getting into the CPD debates isn’t inspiring. The only news bump Barr is likely to get from the ballot drive at this point is stories wondering why an ex-congressman like Bob Barr couldn’t get on as many ballots in 2008 as a relative political novice like Michael Badnarik in 2004.

So, please: share the LP’s plan for ballot access in the remaining states. Let us know in which states Barr is handling the drive and in which the LP is overseeing it. Let us know how many petitioners have been lined up, and what the costs for their services will be. Let us know what the administrative costs are for this final push. Let us know where we’re OK and where we’re in danger, and if any of this money will be spent on legal fees. In other words, please give us something to go on.

  1. For my own tracking, I’ve taken Richard Winger’s ballot-access update chart from BAN and stripped out all but the information directly relevant to the LP. In case anyone else might find it useful, it’s here:

  2. Republican activist cum mercenary Libertarian petitioner Dondero needs a yacht.

    Isn’t that a good enough reason to give? 😉

  3. LPers, get on the ballots. Then suspend Barr. Install a fusion ticket. That will make MSM. Then when voters realize the new ticket just might win, polling will push 15%. My only question is: are purists radical enough to install a filthy fusion ticket?

  4. Susan,

    The appropriate first question is how the first $500,000 was spent. That should tell you whether more money would be well spent.


  5. OK, looking over the list, and rolling some numbers very loosely:

    If you need 2 raw sigs to get 1 valid one (being extremely conservative and assuming a terrible 50% validity rate), and assuming Richard’s numbers are fairly current and correct, we need:

    Alabama: about 3K

    Tennessee: The state LP has this in hand.

    D.C. about 10K

    New York about 9K

    Virginia: The state LP has this in hand.

    Rhode Isl.: about 1K

    Minn: about 4K

    Perhaps need more sigs in WVA, but that’s a Barr campaign thing.

    Getting more sigs in Maine? Maybe.

    That *seems* like ~27K signatures at the *outside*, which would make the 50K figure about right.

    But I know very little about the mechanics of petitioning and running drives, so it’d be good for someone who does know more to comment on the current status and figures.

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