On July 10th Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin declared The Libertarian Party of Arkansas a “New Political Party” for the fourth consecutive time. Now that the Libertarian Party of Arkansas (LPAR) is officially on the ballot for 2018, candidate recruitment will be the party’s next major task.
The Party had submitted 15,108 signatures to the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office on June 12th. After spending almost three weeks verifying the submitted signatures, the Secretary of State notified the party that its new political party petition was sufficient. Leslie Bellamy, the Director of Elections, informed the party that 12,749 of the signatures were valid.
In accordance with Arkansas Code Annotated § 7-7-205, new political parties are required to file a petition with the Secretary of State. The party has 90 days to collect signatures from at least 10,000 registered Arkansas voters. To retain ballot access, the party’s candidate for Governor will have to receive 3% of the votes cast for Governor.
According to Stephen Wait, the party’s Treasurer, “Petitioning to become a new political party again cost over $25,000 and a lot of volunteer hours. Despite the obstacles the old parties put in our way, we are happy to provide freedom loving Arkansans the opportunity to vote for candidates who will represent their views.”
The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is currently seeking liberty minded individuals who are interested in running for office. The LPAR’s elections committee has already been contacted by numerous people interested in seeking the party’s nomination for various positions.
Vice-chairman, Chris Olson, said “It’s an important election with all constitutional officers up for election. We are committed to providing the people of Arkansas with a strong set of pro-liberty candidates. We will not shirk from our commitment to providing a consistent voice for limited responsible government.” He urged those who are interested in running for office as a Libertarian to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Votes for the top ticket races continue to rise. In the 2016 Presidential race, Gary Johnson received 2.6% of votes cast for President up from the 1.5% he received in 2012. In 2014 Frank Gilbert received 1.9% of the vote in the Gubernatorial race. While the top races have yet to cross into double digit percentages, the party did have some impressive results in the U.S. House races in 2016. In district 1, Mark West received 23.7% of the votes cast. In District 3, Steve Isaacson received 22.7% of votes. In District 4, Kerry Hicks received 25.1% of the votes cast.
When asked if he was optimistic about the LPAR getting over 3% of votes for Governor, party chairman Michael Pakko said “I’m very optimistic. The Libertarian Party has been gaining support and interest. We’ve already had one strong candidate step forward seeking our nomination, and I anticipate that we’ll be able to mount a real challenge to the status-quo parties in this election.”
The party welcomes freedom loving Arkansans to join with them as they fight to bring liberty to Arkansas.