While at the same Reason magazine event that John attended, I found myself talking with a Libertarian about Bob Barr’s chances of winning the Libertarian Party presidential nomination in Denver. There was a reporter for a major news organization standing nearby, who apparently had no idea how much internal LP opposition Barr would face.
“Opposition?” she asked. “But I thought …”
“We’re talking about Libertarians,” said my friend. “They’re crazy.”
“We definitely don’t expect to win it on the first ballot,” said Russ Verney, the Barr manager who shepherded Ross Perot’s third-party bids in 1992 and 1996. “The other [Libertarian] candidates have been out there recruiting delegates for over a year. Bob just declared his candidacy last week, so he’s definitely the underdog.” . . .
Phone surveys of delegates and state party leaders indicate Barr would get between 30 and 35 percent of the first-ballot vote, his supporters say. With a majority of delegates needed to secure the nomination in a party that doesn’t choose its candidate by primary votes, multiple rounds of balloting are not unusual at LP conventions.
Talk of Barr as a “spoiler” for John McCain is assuming much more than it is safe to assume, considering that the 2004 LP presidential nominee didn’t win it until the third ballot.
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