After years of a scarily downward slide in membership, candidates, officeholders and contributions, plus a high DC headquarters staff turnover, at the 2006 Portland Convention you stepped in and seized the office of Libertarian National Committee (LNC) Chair with the overwhelming support of delegates (64.3% versus 23.1% for Ernie Hancock, 9.1% for George Phillies, and 3.5% for None of the Above). You provided inclusive stability and dignified leadership in a divisive and unstable environment when the Libertarian Party (LP) needed you most.
You served as Treasurer for the LNC for two terms and have run for office as a Libertarian three times including Governor of Virginia in 2001 as one of the first Libertarian candidates for statewide office to be on the Virginia ballot.
In addition to your various other roles, most Libertarians know of you as the de facto Ballot Access Champion and petition organizer for the Libertarian Party.
Having volunteered full-time at my own expense for six months for the successful 2004 ballot access drive in Texas which garnered over 82,000 raw signatures, I know how difficult and unpredictable these petition drives can be.
While well-meaning people can disagree on the funding priority that ballot access should receive, I believe some people have either mistakenly or for political reasons questioned your handling of ballot access. I also believe you have been criticized at times for circumstances beyond your control: specifically, for previous LP headquarters staff’s inability to provide a detailed accounting of ballot access expenditures which they were responsible for doing.
You hung in there time and time again, at times making mistakes, nevertheless achieving incredible results when no one else was willing to step up to the plate and take on this enormous responsibility.
At the recent Charleston LNC meeting, you said you would announce your future intentions regarding running for LNC Chair again soon and before you did that I wanted to do my best, if you are willing, and if the Libertarian Party were to be so fortunate, to persuade you to run for Chair again in case you hadn’t made up your mind yet.
The Libertarian Party needs you again in 2008.
The only other current LNC member I could support for LNC Chair is the well-respected Emily Salvette, currently the Region 3 LNC Representative from Michigan, the Convention Credentials Committee Chair, and a former Michigan LP Chair.
If neither you nor Salvette are willing to run for LNC Chair, I’d run for LNC Chair myself.
Serving as LNC Chair might cramp my style and take away from other valuable projects I’d prefer to focus on and would if I were confident the Chair’s position was in good hands.
Nevertheless, I would campaign vigorously for LNC Chair just as I plan to campaign vigorously for Vice Chair of the LNC if neither you nor Salvette agree to run for Chair in 2008.
Wes Benedict for Vice Chair
Libertarian Party members,
No one asked me to run for the Region 6 Southwest LNC Representative position in 2006. In fact, people asked someone else to but I took it upon myself to run and win because I was concerned that the performance of the National LP was impeding my State of Texas and allowing other states to decline. I believe I earned the support of delegates based on my resume of business and well-known Libertarian Party activism as was presented here:
I have a proven track record of helping the Texas LP that was once in a state of chaos: http://wesbenedictforlnc.blogspot.com/2006/07/texas-two-step-turnaround-2.html
And bringing it to a much higher level of performance: http://wesbenedictforlnc.blogspot.com/2007/11/belatedly-reporting-step-two-was.html
No one asked me to run for Vice Chair but I plan to do so even in the event Redpath or Salvette or anyone else preferred I didn’t. I would not be surprised to hear from critics that I might be trying to ride someone’s coattails into the Vice Chair position.
I don’t care.
I enjoy vigorous campaigns both for internal LP positions and in my four campaigns for public office. I have stood up to some of the biggest bullies within the Libertarian Party like M Carling. Occasionally when necessary I’ve successfully defended myself and others against innuendo and fact distortion.
While showing signs of improvement, the National LP remains at a much lower level by most measures than where it was just a few years ago and many of the current LNC members (including Redpath and Salvette both of whom I deeply respect) served on the LNC during that period of decline.
If the National LP and most state parties were growing like gangbusters, then I’d feel comfortable stepping off the LNC and getting out of the way and letting whoever was currently on the board continue to serve and lead.
But, that’s not happening now so let this be my announcement that I’ll be running like gangbusters for LNC Vice Chair or Chair, though my first choice for Chair is Redpath and second choice is Salvette.