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Florida Libertarians Nominate Candidate and Strategy Continues

April 4th 2006

Florida Libertarians Nominate Candidate and Strategy Continues

LP Party of FL

Pam Beach, FL--Libertarians here selected a small roster of State candidates at their recent convention in Boca Raton, continuing, say attendees,  a strategy of local low-budget candidates and developing a network of 1000 Libertarian supporters in each State House District.

That may not sound like much, but Libertarians have a reputation of being dedicated and focused activists who tend to be community leaders to begin with, who leverage their influence with attention getting ideas supported by quiet coalitions with a wide array of groups. And it would make the Libertarian Party of Florida, or LPF, say observers, not only the largest civic action network in the State, but one of the strongest in the country. It would in effect make it a Libertarian community or city spread through the State.

 

At first papers were skeptical, attributing Libertarian  initiatives, such as a 2002 project that used a periodic petitioning mechanism that allowed them to run more State House candidates than the Democrats with a few hundred signatures, to gimmickry. Not quite, said the LPF, saying it needed to get in front of community leaders (they did presentations to some 30,000), train a 'farm team' and determine infrastructure needs,  start building a community network, and develop a positive and workmanlike approach with officials.

Increasingly, however, many media have no doubts. "It's a Libertarian Invasion," moaned the Herald in Sarasota. Other papers saw Politics 101. One noted they were "Doing what political parties are supposed to," while another said bluntly: Florida Libertarians think like and are "...building a political army."

 

A PHASED APPROACH

2002 indeed marked the first Florida election where Libertarians were--thank to a Constitutional Amendment they proposed-- both legally, and in practice, able to compete with the other parties on an equal basis. The initiative, dubbed Operation Full Slate in its first stages, attracted over 1 million voters to select a Libertarian candidate, and according to ABC news, 'Changed Florida Politics Forever' by putting Third party candidates on the 'mental map of the average' voter.

In 2004 they focused again on local candidates, and have been steadily building an array of appointees and elected officials well grounded in the community who, according to LPF officials, are getting things done. The message is simple: Libertarians champion individual rights, and promote voluntary and private alternatives to government programs. The message is stronger, say candidates, as Increasingly, they point to the record of Libertarians who've helped lead important changes in the state.

In 2006, Libertarians say they will be carefully assessing and testing approaches on a few state races as models for increasing local networks and visibility. Based on the results and lessons learned, many LPF county affiliates are looking at either 2008 or 2010 as the next attention getting effort.

 

DO THE MATH

Said Operation Full Slate co-organizer Michael Gilson-De Lemos, who chairs the LPF affiliate in Pinellas and St. Petersburg, Florida: "Informed Republican and Democratic leaders understand and respect that we represent a growing constituency. Our constituency doesn't react to scare images but expect accountability. They're spreading the paradigm that if you're a government official or public intellectual or policy maker who is not receptive to tolerance and more with less or have to call out more police and military, then you're not a tough decision-maker: you're just an incompetent."

"In 2002 we ran many trained candidates and made a lot of friends. In 2012 we'll run them as spokesmen for a process building up 120,000 community leaders using that paradigm more than ever. Do the math."

Said convention speaker Willy Marshall, a Libertarian 'do more with less' mayor from Utah who paved the entire city's roads while slashing taxes, "This is the right approach. You suit up, show up and do the process."

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By Mike Davis
Freelance Writer

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Keywords and misspellings:  politics poletics democrat demoncrat republican repub comentary commentary


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