Category Archives: Election

Campaign Season is here!

I’d like to encourage all Libertarian Party of Arkansas members to be active campaigners for the many Libertarian candidates we have on the ballot in Arkansas this year. It took a lot of hard work and money to achieve ballot status for our candidates, and we need to make sure that effort was for a good reason.

You can find our list of Libertarian candidates at the LPAR web site. Pick out at least one campaign (or more) that you can commit to work for. There are many ways that you can help—from telling your friends, to door-to-door campaigning, to making a financial donation, to arranging events for the candidate, to attending events with the candidate, and much more.

Our candidate for Governor, Frank Gilbert, will provide the LPAR with continued ballot status if he receives at least 3% of the vote in November. That would save us a lot of time, effort, and money. It’s up to us to do what we can to make that happen. So let’s GET INVOLVED!

—Kathleen Wikstrom, LPAR Vice-Chair

We Are Libertarians

We Are Libertarians

We are not “Republican-light.” We are not “Democratic-light.” We are Libertarians.

It is tiresome to continually be asked why we would want to run a Libertarian candidate against a “good Republican” or “a good libertarian leaning Republican.” Would this same person ask that of the Democratic Party? Would this same person expect the Democratic Party to not run someone against a “good moderate Republican?” Of course not. So why do they ask us? As Mark Axinn, LPNY chair said, we could just as easily ask “why are they running against so many good Libertarians?”

I believe Republicans and conservatives do this because they have a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be a Libertarian. They believe we share some sort of camaraderie with them but can offer no proof of what makes them think this way. They throw around words like “Republican-libertarian,” and “conservative libertarian,” and “constitutional libertarian” like these word salads have some sort of meaning. They do not.

A libertarian is someone who believes in the non-aggression principle, plain and simple. Simply put, the non-aggression principle states that no man may initiate force or fraud against another person or his property. This is also called “classically liberal” in many circles and fits just as well as the word libertarian. The political party that upholds these libertarian principles is conveniently named The Libertarian Party. Republicans and Democrats have no such moral compass. This is evident in the sort of legislation both parties have brought us. However, since I am talking about the Republicans today, let’s see what they have done to this state and country recently.

  • Republicans have brought us, in the last legislative session in Arkansas alone, a bill that steals $125 million from the taxpayer’s pockets to give to a for-profit steel mill.
  • The Republicans also passed legislation in the last session making it more difficult for the Libertarian Party to get on the ballot, restricting our freedom of speech and freedom of choice.
  • The Republicans also passed legislation increasing an already ridiculous burden for the citizens of Arkansas to bring ballot initiatives to the people to vote on.
  • The Republicans also brought us a bill to be voted on that will double their term limits.
  • The Republicans have also brought us a bill making it much more difficult and expensive for a person to get certain body modifications to their own body. And this was all just in the last session alone!
  • Now, in the current fiscal session, the Arkansas Republicans are trying to ram the private option funding through the House any way they can! The private option is the largest expansion of Medicaid in Arkansas history and was passed initially last session in our Republican-controlled legislature! And one of the biggest supporters of getting this passed in this fiscal session? Nate Bell, the supposed “libertarian Republican!”

And you wonder why these word salads like “libertarian Republican” have no meaning.

Federally, things are just as bad, if not worse. Republicans brought us the PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security, TSA, Medicaid Part D, multiple stimulus packages to prop up private companies, multiple wars to massively increase the military budget, pork, etc. I could keep going, but you get the point. All of these programs stole money from our pockets and stole freedom from our lives.

These are supposedly the “fiscally conservative” Republicans. And yet you wonder why Libertarians candidates run against “good Republicans.”

As independent reporter Steve Brawner said in the Times Record today, “”Libertarians are the party of less government — really less government…That sounds like Republican rhetoric, but Libertarians are a lot more serious about it, and the party’s less government philosophy lands it to the left of many Arkansas Democrats on social issues.” Mr. Brawner gets it. Why don’t the Republicans get it?

This is the reason the Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing party in Arkansas, because we get it. We get that the people of this great country and great state are fed up with the false choices they are being given at the ballot box. We get that people are finally saying, “ENOUGH!” The Libertarian Party is giving these voters real choice, a real difference from the eerily similar Republican and Democrat parties. People every day are fed up, looking around, and realizing that they too are Libertarians.

R. Lee Wrights, the Vice-Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, said today on his Facebook page, “Libertarians do nothing for America or themselves by joining and supporting our oppressors! WE gain nothing and America loses every time someone falls for this load of elephant droppings. Republicans cannot be trusted. We have learned even the Democrats have more integrity than Republicans. Not by much, mind you, but by a degree. Democrats tell us they are going to take our money and give it to others, then, they get elected and do it. Republicans lie through their teeth and tell us, “Vote for us, we are not like that!” Then, they get elected, take our money, and give it to their friends. Republicans and Democrats are two wings on the same bird of prey.”

I could not have said it better myself. We are no longer content with elephant and donkey droppings. We are no longer content pulling the lever for these people who campaign one way and then legislate another. We are no longer willing to play their games and allow them to run roughshod over us. We are not Republicans. We are not Democrats. WE ARE LIBERTARIANS! And, in Arkansas anyway, we are here to stay and to win.

Rodger Paxton
LPAR Secretary

LPAR 2014 Post-Convention Press Release

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas nominated 26 candidates, the largest number in its history, for the 2014 election ballot at its state convention, held this weekend in Little Rock.

Heading the state Libertarian ticket is Frank Gilbert, running for Governor of Arkansas. Gilbert currently serves as constable of Dekalb Township in Grant County, attending to the rural areas of northwest Grant County. Gilbert also served as mayor of Tull, Arkansas, for eight years, coroner of Grant County for two years, and is a former president of the Bauxite Education Association.

“I am excited by the opportunity, as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Governor, to carry the message that free men and women have an absolute right to conduct their lives in any way they choose, so long as they don’t infringe on the equal rights of others,” Gilbert said, “as well as our absolute responsibility to bear the result of our actions. The Libertarian Party is the only political entity that has that message for the voters of Arkansas. I believe it will be a refreshing change from the politics-as-usual of the old parties. I intend to campaign vigorously throughout the state.”

If the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor receives at least 3% of the vote, the party will be automatically certified to run candidates in the next election cycle, without having to petition for a spot on the ballot.

Libertarian candidates nominated for other statewide races are Nathan LaFrance, U.S. Senate; Christopher Olson, Lt. Governor; Jacob Holloway, Secretary of State; Brian Leach, Auditor; Chris Hayes, Treasurer; and Elvis D. Presley, Land Commissioner.

Libertarian candidates for US Congressional seats are Brian Willhite, 1st district; Debbie Standiford, 2nd district; Grant Brand, 3rd district; and Ken Hamilton, 4th district.

Candidates for Arkansas House include Wayne Willems, District 15; Marc Rosson, District 20; Greg Deckleman, District 31; Rodger Paxton, District 51; Taylor Watkins, District 80; Eddie Moser, District 95; Michael Kalagias, District 96.

Candidates nominated for other Arkansas races include Valerie Emmons, Pulaski Co. Justice of the Peace, District 2; William Brackeen, Pulaski Co. Justice of the Peace, District 13; Christian Parks, Lonoke Co. Justice of the Peace, Ward District 2; W. Whitfield Hyman, Springdale Constable; Jacob Faught, Gentry Constable; Glen Schwarz, Pulaski Co. Judge; and Shawn Hipskind, Saline County Judge.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest party in Arkansas. The Libertarian Party of Arkansas formally submitted more than 16,000 signatures to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office last October in order to run candidates on the 2014 ballot.

LPAR in the news – “Third option for voters now on the menu”

A fantastic article by Steve Brawner, and independent journalist in Arkansas.

Third option for voters now on the menu

At the Cotham’s in the City restaurant near the Capitol, two potential candidates for governor are eating lunch at the same long table.

That might be awkward if they were both Democrats or Republicans, or if they were one and the other, and both had a chance to win. Instead, they’re both Libertarians — Frank Gilbert, who was elected a Saline County constable last year, and businessman Shawn Hipskind. A third potential candidate, Glen Schwartz, isn’t at the restaurant.

“In the past, Libertarians probably had to play ‘rock-scissors-paper’ to see who had to run for governor,” Gilbert jokes.

Party chairperson Jessica Paxton and her husband, Rodger, the party’s previous chairman, say their party has some momentum going into 2014. They point to the government shutdown as evidence that Republicans and Democrats can’t be trusted to run the government and that the government can’t be trusted at all.

Party members are under no illusion that one of their own will be elected governor next year, but it was nevertheless a time for celebration. A couple of hours earlier and after months of work, they had submitted 16,441 signatures to the secretary of state’s office in order to qualify for next year’s ballot. They need 10,000 valid ones.

Republicans and Democrats don’t have to do that because their presidential candidates won at least three percent of the vote in 2012. Third parties, who have trouble reaching that threshold, say such rules stack the deck in favor of the established two parties.

“The Republicans and Democrats say that, ‘Oh, we can’t have a cluttered ballot. Oh, we can’t give you too many choices because you’re not smart enough to determine between four people whom you would want to vote for, so we can only give you two,’” Jessica Paxton tells me over a plate of food that’s getting cold while I interview her. “I say, crowd the ballot. You know, if 12 people want to run for governor, let them.”

There was a time when Arkansas Republicans were where the Libertarians are — irrelevant but aspiring. Now they control both houses of the Legislature.

But that situation might be different. Democratic dominance was a holdover from the Civil War, but the two parties’ policies were not so very different. Libertarians are different. They mean it when they say they support smaller government. They typically support major cutbacks in social services and the military. They also usually favor gay marriage, abortion rights and ending the war on drugs.

They will have a convention next spring to nominate candidates. Paxton says she expects the party to compete for many positions and that members are interested in running in all four congressional districts and for the U.S. Senate seat.

That last one might have an impact in a close race. A recent Talk Business/Hendrix College poll found that Democrat Mark Pryor and Republican Tom Cotton are separated by only one point. Jessica Paxton collected 2.6 percent of the vote running for Congress in the 1st District last year.

Interestingly, that poll found that the largest bloc of Arkansas voters aren’t Democrats (31 percent) or Republicans (25 percent) but independents (36 percent). Counting the 8 percent who say they are “other,” 44 percent of Arkansans told a pollster they don’t identify with either of the two major parties.

Still, voters who call themselves independents tend to vote one side or the other. Pollster and analyst Jay Barth, a Hendrix College professor, said 71 percent of independent Arkansans voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. The three third-party presidential candidates only won about 2.5 percent of the vote combined.

Will voters give third party and independent candidates a chance in 2014? They haven’t much in the past.

However, there were many choices on the Cotham’s menu, and diners seemed capable of making their own decisions. Even rock-paper-scissors involves three choices.

Steve Brawner is an independent journalist in Arkansas. His email address is brawnersteve@mac.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevebrawner.

Read more: The Courier – Your Messenger for the River Valley – Third option for voters now on the menu

LPAR making history – again!

It’s an exciting time for the LPAR and we invite you to celebrate with us!

On October 15th, members of our Executive Committee will be heading to the Capitol to turn in 16,000+ signatures from our ballot access petition drive. We would love to have you join us on the Capitol steps at 10am for a press conference. Immediately following the press conference, you are welcome to continue on to the Secretary of State’s office for a front-row seat to the signature hand-over process.
For those of you who have recently joined us, or for those that need a refresher, here is why this is an incredibly important day:The state requires 10,000 signatures of registered voters here in Arkansas in order to grant us “New Political Party” status. Once we turn in those signatures, the Secretary of State has 30 days to verify that 10,000 of our 16,000 are valid. Upon verification, the LPAR will be a recognized political party in Arkansas and will therefore be able to run candidates in the 2014 elections.

If you can’t join us, but would like to help with our mission of spreading true liberty across Arkansas, click HERE for a list of ways you can get involved.

We look forward to seeing you on the 15th! Email chair@lpar.org if you are interested in running for office, setting up a county affiliate or want more information about upcoming events.

In liberty,

Jessic PaxtonLPAR Chair

LPAR Ballot Access Drive 2013

The LPAR’s ballot access drive begins tomorrow! That’s right – we are officially on the way to regain ballot access for the 2014 election!

For those of you who weren’t around during petition time two years ago, here is how it works:

We have 90 days to gather 10,000 valid signatures from registered voters in AR and turn them in to the Secretary of State. (We really gather 15,000-16,000 to account for signatures that are “thrown out” due to unreadable entries, incomplete entries, those who signed and aren’t properly registered to vote, etc.) Once we have turned in the signatures, the SoS’ office has 30 days to certify that we DO have at least 10,000 valid signatures. Once that happens, we are “official” as far as the state is concerned. At that point, we will be able to run Libertarians for partisan offices around the state in 2014! Since we will be a “new political party,” we will nominate our candidates during the annual convention (Spring 2014) instead of participating in the primaries.

Would you like to volunteer to help gather signatures? Whether you have one hour, one day or one week to give, we could sure use the help! To request a petition packet, send your name, address and phone number to chair@lpar.org and we will get in touch with you asap.

Are you interested in running for office in 2014 as a Libertarian? Send an email to candidates@lpar.org with your name, address, phone number and what office/race you are considering so that we can help you through the process.

Note from the Chair

I agree completely with 1996 and 2000 LP Presidential Candidate Harry Brown, when he said today “It’s a great day to be a Libertarian!” It’s an even greater day to be a Libertarian in the great state of Arkansas, where we have made historic gains and elected libertarians!

I am immensely proud of the Libertarian Party of Arkansas today. I am proud of the dedication, hard-work and sacrifices made by our candidates and members. Yesterday was the culmination of two solid years of putting our hearts and souls into this party, and it showed in amazing ways.

I cannot begin to name each and every person who worked to make this possible, so I won’t even try. From candidates to campaign coordinators, from sign wavers to petitioners, from donors to organizers, and everywhere in between, you know who you are, and so do we. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I am humbled and honored to be associated with the LPAR and such great freedom fighters as we have.

Although our ultimate goal of receiving 3% for Gary Johnson to keep us on the ballot was not met, it does not diminish our huge gains. The LPAR is committed to continue this fight on every battleground imaginable. Whether in the courts, through our legislators or through the petitioning process, we have only begun to fight. And fight we will, because our country, our state and our liberties depend on it.

As N.D. Wilson said, “Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself.”

In Liberty,

Rodger Paxton

Chairman, LPAR

Arkansas Elected Libertarians!

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas, in it’s first time at bat with full ballot access, elected a partisan Libertarian to office! Frank Gilbert, former mayor of Tull Arkansas and former chairman of the LPAR, made history yesterday by being elected Constable of Dekalb Township in Grant County! I know you all join me in congratulating Frank for being the first ever Libertarian elected to partisan office in Arkansas history!

Also, Casey Copeland, LPAR Treasurer, was re-elected to a second two-year term as Prarie Grove Alderman. Congratulations, Casey!

LPAR candidates received a grand total of 96,255 votes in the state. This is a phenomenal start and gives us an excellent benchmark going forward.

Remember, Remember the Sixth of November…

***All vote totals in this email are based on the current 8:00pm 11/7/2012 results from AR SoS. At that time there are only 88% of counties fully reporting and 12% partially reporting.***

Remember, Remember the Sixth of November

A Battle for Freedom hard fought.

I see no reason why all of our victories 

Should ever be forgot

Governor Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray shattered Libertarian Presidential Candidate vote totals in Arkansas yesterday! With 15,977 votes and 1.52% of the vote, they outperformed all of the Libertarian Presidential candidates in Arkansas in the last 20 years combined (14,269 for the campaigns of Barr 2008, Badnarick 2004, Browne 2000, Browne 1996 and Marrou 1992 added together)!Johnson / Gray also managed to come in higher than any previous LP Presidential candidate, coming in ahead of the previous record holder, Ed Clark in 1980, by 7,007 votes and 0.46%.

Libertarians in Arkansas voted for Johnson / Gray 11,201 (1.08% ) more  than Bob Barr / Wayne Allyn Root in 2008 , more than tripling the vote total and percentage by those candidates! This major accomplishement was earned in only 4 years of hard work by many libertarians across the state, and is the largest 4-year increase in votes and percentages that the LPAR has ever seen in its history!

Another historic feat is that for the first time, Arkansas is in the top 10 of state Libertarian Party vote percentatages for President in the US. We came in number 10 of 50 states, beating LP Power House states such as Ohio, Texas, Indiana and California!

Nationally, with 97% of precincts reporting, Gary Johnson / Jim Gray with 1,139,562 votes broke the 32-year record of 921,128 by Ed Clark and David Koch in 1980.

Election Day Events with the LPAR

We will be hosting several events on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6th!

Election Day Libertarian Party Sign Wave! - Please join us at Polling locations across Arkansas to support your local, state, and national Libertarian Party candidates. Arkansas Polls are open from 7:30 a.m-7:30 p.m. This event page is focused on Lonoke County and Pulaski County polling locations. Please setup your own event page for your area and share the link on this event page.

If you would like to meet up with us, please call Mark Daniels at (501) 570-6368. Mark plans to get started in Lonoke County when the polls open at South Bend Fire Rescue, 4414 Arkansas 294, Jacksonville, AR. RSVP HERE! http://www.facebook.com/events/422911084429112/

We will be updating the event location throughout the day. Of course, please feel free to gather at any polling location you desire.

Pulaski County Polling Locations http://www.votepulaski.net/Elections/20121106%20General/11062012%20Election%20Day%20Polling%20Locations.pdf

Statewide Polling Locations
http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections/Pages/default.aspx

Election Night Watch Party – Little Rock! - Join your fellow Libertarian candidates and supporters for a night of fellowship, food, spirits and more as we watch the election results come in. Please share and invite your fellow freedom fighters! RSVP HERE! http://www.facebook.com/events/441256749245577/

*Wayne Willems of “One Man Band – Live” will be providing our entertainment for the evening!

Big Party at the Cornerstone in NLR!Please join me for the Big Election Night Party sponsored by the Arkansas Libertarian Party planned for Tuesday evening, November 6th, 2012, upstairs in the Cornerstone Pub & Grill beginning at 7pm. The Cornerstone is on the same block with NLR City Hall, about 4 doors north, on Main Street in the beautiful Argenta historic district.

There will be live entertainment, a great menu, a cash bar, pool tables, comfortable seating and more importantly, the friendliest, most interesting and highly intelligent People to meet as we observe the 2012 general election results.You will also get to meet our Libertarian Candidates who are running for office.