Ron Paul Turns Down Invitation To Run On Libertarian Ticket

As I noted yesterday, the Libertarian National Committee took the somewhat unusual step of asking Ron Paul, who is running for the Republican Presidential nomination, to run as a Libertarian if he does not get the GOP nomination.

Today, the Austin American-Statesman reports that Paul has declined the invitation:

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Ron Paul turned down a Libertarian Party invitation on Sunday that could have kept him in the 2008 presidential race even if his long-shot bid for the GOP nomination fails.

At a meeting in Charleston, S.C., the Libertarian National Committee on Sunday unanimously approved a resolution praising the Lake Jackson congressman for igniting “a renewed passion for liberty across America.”

Paul was the 1988 Libertarian presidential nominee and, according to the resolution proposed by former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, “is a member of the Libertarian Party in good standing.”

“The Libertarian Party and Congressman Ron Paul share many common principles for liberty and prosperity in America,” the resolution said.

The Barr resolution urged Paul to seek the Libertarian Party nomination that will be awarded at the party’s May national convention in Denver.

But Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said it would not happen.

“Ron has no intention to run third party whatsoever,” he said.

And that, it would appear, is that.

  • Anthony

    As unlikely as a Libertarian Party run by Dr. Paul ever was, I have to ask: I wonder what exactly did Dr. Paul and his campaign staff think was going to happen? That he was going to get the Republican Party nomination? That the RP was going to up and admit that the Iraq war was a mistake less than a year before the election and give him the nomination?

    Considering the current makeup of the GOP, thats an even nuttier idea than accepting the LP nomination.

  • Mike Taht

    I’d like it the third parties could put aside their differences long enough to rally behind one candidate that might make it possible for third parties to actually participate in American Politics.

    Imagine what could happen if the Green Party, etc, also endorsed Paul….

  • Doug Mataconis

    If the Green Party endorsed Ron Paul, it would mean one of to things:

    Either the Green Party has abandoned it’s socialistic, pro-big government philosophy, or Ron Paul has abandoned his philosophy.

  • UCrawford

    This is a key example of why the Libertarian Party never gets momentum going…they don’t respect their own primary system or the people trying to take leadership roles. Did they bother to even ask the LP candidates currently running, who are spending money to secure the nomination, if they’d be okay with stepping aside for Ron Paul? Apparently not…from what I’ve seen it looks like the LP just threw them under the bus in favor of a guy with bigger share of votes. Smart parties don’t do that to their people. If they’d been serious about attempting to bring Ron Paul into the fold they would have discussed this possibility months ago with the prospective candidates, internally and out of sight so it didn’t distract from the Paul campaign in the GOP and so it didn’t weaken the already strained legitimacy of their party.

    Bad move by the LP if they were serious about trying to help the cause of libertarianism.

  • Doug Mataconis


    An excellent point.

    As someone over at Hit&Run who posted on this issue this morning put it — if I was one of the three guys actually running for the LP nomination, I wouldn’t exactly be happy with the fact that the Party basically begged someone to cross party lines to get the nomination.

  • UCrawford

    Can’t say as their handling of this really surprised me. I was involved with my local chapter of the LP for all of a couple of weeks before I realized just how clueless and directionless they were about getting anything accomplished. Based on what a mess they were I couldn’t imagine that the national organization would be any better, which is why I walked away.

    It does surprise me that Bob Barr was one of the people doing this, though. I thought he was a lot sharper than that.

    By the way, your first link is broken, Doug, it just goes to the Liberty Papers log-in.

  • Doug Mataconis


    Thanks for the heads up. Link fixed.

  • Frank

    This was the Libertarian party’s desperate attempt at trying to cash in on Ron Paul’s success. It is very amateurish of them to even bring this up at this point. I’m glad Paul is having none of it.

  • Joseph

    First, notice that he always says he has no “intention” of running as a third party. I think he choses his wording carefully to leave open the chance of running third party, while assuring Republican voters that his focus is on winning the GOP. I’m confident that given the right circumstances, he will run third party. Those circumstances being adequate support, fundraising, ability to get on the ballot, and ability to get into debates. I think he has the first two, but the real test will be how they assess their chances of the latter two.

    Another thing that will affect his decision to run third party will be who the Republican and Democratic nominees are. In order for him to do well, he needs to be a lot different that the candidates. His ideal run would be against Hillary and Guiliani. They are so despised and represent everything bad about politics, that Paul would probably make a good run against them. Paul would represent real change and that’s what people are looking for. However, if the nominees are Obama and Huckabee, he’d have a harder time. Although the difference are significant, to the average American, the distinctions are not as black and white.

    In my opinion, I think it would be better if he ran as an independent and not a libertarian. The problem with parties is that they come with labels and generalizations. People are fed up with the party system in general. Nobody takes libertarians, green party, etc… seriously. Unfortunate, but true. He’s less likely to get noticed if he runs under that party, because people don’t believe that any of those parties can win. However, people do have a thing for Independents. The classification Independent doesn’t come with a label, other than that of “change”. Something different from politics as usual. In doing so, Paul may run the risk of alienating some Libertarians, but oh well. He’ll attract far more disenchanted Republicans and Democrats than he will aliente Libertarians. Not to mention, Libertarians will still by in large vote for him over their own party because he has a legitimate shot at defeating the two party system.

  • UCrawford


    I don’t think he’ll consider running as an independent if he doesn’t get the nomination. He’s already said, repeatedly, he just doesn’t want to go through the hassles of fighting to get on the ballot in every state, gaining credibility with voters, etc. for zero chance of victory…and who could blame him? I could have seen him running as a Libertarian if they’d worked out some sort of a deal before now, since they are on the ballots and have some name recognition, but the way the LP handled it indicated they hadn’t given it any thought and the whole thing was just a complete mess that I think would fatally undermine the party’s credibility even with Paul on the ticket (not that they had a lot to begin with).

    Basically, when Ron Paul says he has no intention of running as an independent, I believe him. He either wins the GOP nomination or he’s done.

  • TanGeng

    Bob Barr was the Republican exile, correct? I see this as more of a way to usurp its old traditions (1920-1950’s) from the Republican Party and its constituency. I don’t think Ron Paul will run on a third party or as an independent. He has to win the Republican nomination.

  • UCrawford

    Barr wasn’t really an exile. He chose not to run for office so he left the party more or less on his own terms. He switched to the Libertarians after he’d been out of office for awhile because he was opposed to a lot of what the GOP was doing (PATRIOT Act and War on Drugs in particular). I think he went to the LP because of a genuine agreement with a lot of party platform, not political expediency. I’m just surprised that he tried a ploy like this to apparently bring Ron Paul into the party…it came off as extremely clumsy and poorly thought out.

  • Norm Nelson

    The LP is insane. They keep doing the same thing and get the same outcome. Until ballot access laws change and some sort of ranked voting are instituted 3rd parties have zero+ chance of getting 10%. Ron Paul realizes this and wont go near a 3rd party. The only good the party does is when local members write arguments against bonds and other revenue measures in local elections.