- Posted May 5, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Election 2012: Your stories
Libertarians to Choose Nominee Today
While most of the nation's voters are focused on the battle between President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican challenger Mitt Romney, members of the Libertarian Party are gathering today to choose who they will put up in the presidential race to tilt at the GOP and Democratic windmills.
The front runner appears to be former Republican New Mexico Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson. His rival to win the nod from the Libertarian Party is Air Force veteran R. Lee Wrights. In past election cycles the Libertarian Party backed current Republican presidential candidate Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
The Libertarian Party chooses a presidential nominee on Saturday, who it hopes can capitalize on the Republican White House candidacy of Ron Paul and his focus on party values like small government and a non-interventionist foreign policy.
While Paul is not expected to attend the convention in Las Vegas or run as the Libertarian candidate, his small but devoted following in Republican primaries this year has buoyed Libertarians.
"Our friend Ron Paul has made people aware of a lot of issues that are important to us," said Carla Howell, executive director of the national Libertarian Party. "If Ron Paul loses the Republican nomination, where are they going to go? They will make the choice to vote for the Libertarian nominee."
Paul, who ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988, is the last remaining challenger to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The Texas congressman is far behind in the polls and has not won a single nominating contest.
The Libertarian convention began on Thursday and is expected to attract at least 600 delegates. Voting will take place on Saturday to pick a nominee for the November 6 election when Democratic President Barack Obama will seek re-election.
Las Vegas political analyst Jon Ralston said many supporters of Paul, who polls show commands about 12 percent support among Republicans, may ultimately back the eventual Libertarian candidate.
"This could be important in swing states like Nevada," Ralston said. "But to what end - to re-elect Obama?"
As hopes dim that Paul can overcome all obstacles to winning the Republican nomination, will his loyal supporters back the Libertarian candidate rather than fall in line behind Romney?
Will Paul supporters sit out the race rather than vote for any candidate, but Paul in the fall?
Will the Libertarian run take votes away from Romney and hand the President a win for re-election in November?
From the Cornfield, many voters are getting tired of the two major parties. Many voices are heard calling for a 3rd choice for president.
But will voters dissatisfied with the 2-party system come out in sufficient numbers to back a candidate on the Libertarian ticket and deny a win to both Obama and Romney?