Choice, Change, and Challenge

The Libertarian Party of Texas recently adopted a new framework for describing three categories of Libertarian candidates. Here in Arkansas, we have followed a similar strategy, believing that all three types of candidates, when leveraged together as a campaign strategy, represent our strongest positioning on the ballot.

With our special nominating convention coming up soon, this seems a propitious time to talk about the roles of these three types of Libertarian candidates, and how they fit into our electoral strategy. I propose that we adopt the taxonomy suggested by our friends in Texas.

What used to be called Paper, Educational, and Active or Serious candidates can be re-framed as Choice, Change, and Challenge candidates. The role of a Choice candidate is to provide voters with a choice or alternative to the two-parties. Change candidates use their position to spread the message of liberty and win the hearts and minds of voters. Challenge candidates have an express goal of giving the establishment a run for their money.

Each level has corresponding expectations and responsibilities:

Choice Candidate
A choice candidate is as a placeholder who agrees to sign the paperwork and add his or her name to the ballot, but does not actively campaign. Choice candidates play a vital role in our electoral strategy. They add numbers to our vote totals while giving all voters, not just members of our party, a choice to vote for a Libertarian on Election Day. Many placeholder candidates also fill out candidate surveys to let the voters know about our positions. These campaigns cost very little, and take a very little time to run.

Change Candidate
A change candidate is one step beyond placeholder, playing more of an educational role. Change candidates appear at candidate debates/forums and provide Libertarian answers to any questionnaires they may receive. They may also produce a website, brochures, or business cards. This is your chance to advocate for change!  A great educational/change campaign can often be run for less than $500.

Challenge Candidate
A challenge candidate runs an active campaign with the intent of trying to win the election – to challenge the status quo.  Running this type of race requires a statistical chance of winning along with fierce dedication and a commitment to campaigning, fundraising, and educating voters. Nominated candidates who pursue this active level of campaigning will receive the most active support for their campaign that the LPAR can offer.

As we approach the date of our Special Nominating Convention, I urge every member of the LPAR to consider becoming a candidate—choice, change, or challenge. There are a wide range of offices where we need candidates, particularly for the state house and senate. You can file an application of interest at

Whether or not you are able to participate as a candidate, I hope you’ll be able to help out as a volunteer on our campaigns, and that you’ll be able to attend the upcoming Special Nominating Convention, October 24, 2015:

Yours in Liberty,
Michael Pakko
Chair, Libertarian Party of Arkansas

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