Steve G.

Seth Cohn: “A history of the LPNH, NH ballot access issues, and why this lawsuit is a mistake (part 1)”

In History, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics on August 28, 2008 at 4:20 pm

The following was written by Seth Cohn, and is published on LFV with the permission of the author.

This is written for those with little or no background in this issue, which includes many LNCers, and perhaps some of the current LPNH Exec Comm.

I’m going to highlight important points with *this*.

Let’s start our timeline back a bit, but not too far back: 1997, a mere 11 years ago

Oh, wait, we must mention the Sec of State (SOS), Bill Gardner, in power for over 30 years now.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gardner

We’ll come back to him…

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LXIII/652/652-11.htm
652:11 Party. – “Party” shall mean any political organization which at the preceding state general election received at least 4 percent of the total number of votes cast for any one of the following: the office of governor or the offices of United States Senators.
Source. 1979, 436:1, eff. July 1, 1979. 1997, 253:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.

Note that date: in 1997 (effective by 1999), the percentage required was raised from 3 to 4 points. The LPNH lawsuit brought in 2005-06 has more details for those who want them… lots of juicy legalese, and lots of failure to make a dent, by legal means.

In 2000, Don Gorman, of NH, loses the LP nomination with 166 votes (19%) for second place, to a second attempt by Harry Browne at 56% of the convention voters.. The “Browne Cloud” affair ends up being both an ethical and financial sore point for the LP for many years to come. George Phillies, a professor of physics, would be the central force in excising the Emerling (aka Cloud) influence from his own state several years later. (Those wondering why George is the preferred target of certain people still in LP, your question is answered – if you name names and point out the dirty laundry, and those names and those who worked alongside them remain in the org after you’ve done so, they certainly will hold grudges in the future.)

The entire story of this part of this history can be pieced together from lots of googleable posts like this:
http://libertarianhistory.blogspot.com/2007/09/harry-browne-emerling-cloud-willis.html
http://www.carolmoore.net/4secretary/controversies.html
and quite importantly George’s own book,
http://www.cmlc.org/headerfundingliberty.htm
(Those interested in a ebook or paper copy should contact George.)

NH election results – http://www.sos.nh.gov/general2000/index.htm *Effect in NH: Due to Harry’s failure to campaign in NH (or much of any place else), Ballot Access as a party is lost, when the only qualifying downstream candidate, Governor candidate Babiarz gets no supportive bump from a active Presidential Candidate, in fact, Browne does worse than Babiarz by more than 2 to 1. As a result, party status is lost, and won’t be regained thru 2008, present day. *

2002 – http://www.sos.nh.gov/general2002/index.htm

Babiarz doubles his numbers to over 13K votes, but still short of 4% Senate candidate Blevens does over 9K, but also not enough.

2004 – Badnarik fails to make the ballot at all, due to short petition numbers. Blevens also fails to make the ballot for the other Senate seat, makes 100+ tallied write in votes.  *LP National complains, for years later, that Babiarz and others are solely responsible for the ballot failure (which should have ‘easy petition drive’, in part because Babiarz won’t run against Gov. Benson (who has friendly to libertarian causes, like the Free State Project).*

Benson loses, as well.

2006 – Gov candidate Kahn fails to make the ballot. Blevens, despite not being the convention nominated candidate for Congress District 2, petitions, and successfully makes the ballot as Libertarian. The ‘official’ LPNH nominee, Lapointe, FAILS to make the ballot. *The question of renaming Blevens from L to Indep is raised. The Sec of State, refuses to do so, saying there is nothing he can do… the petition said Libertarian, so that is what Ken will be listed as.* Ken makes 3K votes.

Post 2006 – In the light of past petition failures, and *National’s insistence that a post Denver convention group of local petitioners, perhaps with some paid help, can make the ballot ‘easily’, the stirring of the current issue are created.*

When I say “National”, I include Shane Cory, Stephen Gordon, Sean Haugh, and others who in various conversations with me, either via email or phone, all either questioned WHY NH failed in 2004 with a eye to blame NH folks like Babiarz, and repeated that NH petitioning wasn’t hard as we claimed, after all it was only 3000 sigs required, far short of states with 10x that amount needed. Oh how little they understood….

To be continued in part 2 (at the least, since this is going to get long and drawn out as we delve into the current mess and find the realities that few want to admit..)

  1. I offered to travel to New Hampshire to work on their ballot access drive in 2004. I was told that they had it handled and didn’t need anybody else. It turned out that they failed.

    I offered to travel to New Hampshire in 2006 to work on their ballot access drive. I was told that they had it handled and didn’t need anybody else. It turned out that they failed again.

    Could another failure be in the works?

  2. The needed signatures for Kingsbury, Lapoint, Blevens, and Phillies were filed, and the candidates are on the ballot.

    It appears that enough signatures were collected for Newell.

    The success of the LNC petition drive for Barr/Root is being determined.

  3. It was my understanding that George and Chris plan to campaign actively in NH. Sadly, the lawsuit takes away funds they might otherwise allocate to active campaigning.

    My own views on the Emerling/Cloud issue and the Perry Willis scandal also associated with the Harry Browne campaigns were informed by a series of articles and letters to the editor in The Libertarian Enterprise. The seedy corruption thus exposed kept me from ever becoming interested in joining the LP.

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