As Rumors Swirl, Libertarians Gather to Fill a Ticket

Bob Barr

Rep. Bob Barr is a candidate for the Libertarian ticket. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Libertarian Party is meeting this weekend in Denver to choose a presidential nominee.

Libertarians don't hold caucuses or primaries. The voting happens solely at the convention. Party faithful will choose between a dozen possible candidates. Rep. Bob Barr looks like the front-runner.

This year, the Libertarian Party is daring to dream big. David Weigel of Reason magazine is covering the convention. He says people believe Libertarians have a chance at winning elections. Weigel points to the support shown Rep. Ron Paul. A Republican with strong Libertarian leanings, Paul has proved attractive to millions of voters in this year's presidential primaries.

Paul has run twice for president on the Libertarian ticket, but he ran as a Republican this year. Even so, Libertarians consider him one of their own.

"They had no empirical evidence that people wanted to vote for any kind of Libertarian for a very long time," Weigel says. Now the question for the party is how to continue Paul's Libertarian legacy.

Weigel describes a rollicking, diverse scene at the Denver convention. "A certain type of outsidery but brainy person is a Libertarian delegate," he says. One rumor among the self-described radicals at the convention holds that the right-wing of the party wants to take over; they say a busload of people are heading in from Ohio to request credentials at the last moment and vote for Barr. A competing rumor has a wave of radicals hitchhiking to the convention for their own last-minute appearance.

On our blog, a Libertarian thread, by which we mean "open."

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