Libertarian Party presidential primaries, 2016

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Libertarian Party presidential convention process, 2016

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  Gary Johnson June 2016.jpg John McAfee by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Candidate Gary Johnson John McAfee
Popular vote 22,642 3,391
Percentage 54.7% 8.2%

  NOTA Option Logo.png Austin Petersen at 2016 FreedomFest cropped.jpg
Candidate Uncommitted Austin Petersen
Popular vote 3,209 3,066
Percentage 7.8% 7.4%

Libertarian Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg
First place by first-instance vote

Libertarian Party presidential primary results by delegate roll call, 2016.svg
First place finishes by convention roll call

Libertarian nominee before election

Gary Johnson

Elected Libertarian nominee

Gary Johnson

The 2016 Libertarian Party presidential primaries and caucuses allowed electors to indicate non-binding preferences for the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate. These differed from the Republican or Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses in that they did not appoint delegates to represent a candidate at the party's convention to select the party's nominee for the United States presidential election. The party's nominee for the 2016 presidential election was chosen directly by registered delegates at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, which ran from May 26 to 30, 2016. The delegates nominated former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson for President and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld for Vice President.[1]

Four primaries and one caucus were held. Missouri and North Carolina held primaries on March 15, as an alternative ballot to other primaries such as those of the Republicans and Democrats. Gary Johnson, who had won the party's nomination in the 2012 presidential election, won North Carolina with 42%. In Missouri a plurality of voters chose the "Uncommitted" option over local candidate Austin Petersen, 40% to 29%, with Johnson not appearing on the Missouri ballot due to announcing his candidacy after the filing deadline. An Oregon primary was run on May 27 during the national convention, while the California primary was held on June 7 after the party's convention. The only caucus was in Minnesota on March 1, where 75% of the electors selected Gary Johnson. Jurisdictions in the 2016 primaries that did not participate in conventional roll call are: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Puerto Rico, and the U.S Virgin Islands.

Candidates[edit]

24 candidates were recognized by the Libertarian Party and 16 were ultimately eligible for the presidential nomination at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention.[2][3][4][5] For a candidate to have been recognized by the Libertarian Party, they must have:

  1. had a campaign website;
  2. been a dues-paying member of the party;
  3. met all U.S. Constitutional requirements to serve as President; and
  4. not have simultaneously been a candidate for another political party.[6]

Of the recognized candidates, eight did not run in any primary or caucus: Joey Berry, Brian Briggs, Thomas Clements, Malisia Garcia, Kevin McCormick, Robert Milnes, Mike Shannon and Heidi Zeman. The other ten recognized candidates as well as three unrecognized candidates – John David Hale (who was disrecognized because he was under 35 and so ineligible to serve as President), Nathan Norman and Merry Susan Nehls – stood in at least one primary or caucus, and appear in the table below. Five recognized candidates withdrew: Cecil Ince, Steve Kerbel, Joy Waymire, Bart Lower and Donald Eugene Lowe.[6][2][7][8][9]

Candidate Profession Campaign On primary or caucus ballot Popular vote
MN
NC
MO
NE
OR[10]
CA
Gary Johnson June 2016.jpg
Gary Johnson
29th
Governor of New Mexico

(1995–2003)
GJlogo2016.png
(CampaignPositionsWebsite)
Running mate: William Weld[11]
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 22,642
John McAfee by Gage Skidmore.jpg
John McAfee
Founder and CEO of McAfee, Inc.
(1987–1994)
John McAfee Feldman presidential campaign, 2016 logo.png
(Website)
Running mate: Judd Weiss[12]
Yes No No Yes Yes Yes 3,391
Austin Petersen by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Austin Petersen
Owner and founder of The Libertarian Republic
(2012–present)
Petersen2016.jpeg
(Website)
Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes 3,066
Rhett Smith (3948563894) (cropped).jpg
Rhett Smith
Private security officer (website) Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes 1,678
Marc Allan Feldman (20277052616) (cropped).jpg
Marc Allan
Feldman
[13][14]
Anesthesiologist at the Cleveland Clinic
(1998–2016)
Marc Allan Feldman presidential campaign, 2016 logo.png
(website)
Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes 1,219
Gray - replace this image male.svg
John David Hale
Student No Yes No No No Yes 1,199
Gray - replace this image female.svg
Joy Waymire
Ranch foreman (website)
Withdrew: April 13, 2016[15]

(endorsed John McAfee)[16]

Yes Yes No No No Yes 1,189
Steve Kerbel (cropped).jpg
Steve Kerbel
Businessman and entrepreneur Steve Kerbel presidential campaign, 2016 logo.png
(website)
Withdrew: March 16, 2016
(endorsed Gary Johnson)[17]
Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes 1,098
Gray - replace this image male.svg
Jack Robinson, Jr.
Businessman and inventor (website) Yes Yes No No No Yes 808
Darryl W. Perry (cropped).png
Darryl W. Perry
Owner and Managing Editor of
Free Press Publications
DWP2016 logo (25237651214).png
(website)
Running mate: Will Coley[18]
Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 662
Cecil Ince 2.jpg
Cecil Ince
Owner of Ince Films
(website)
Withdrew: March 17, 2016[19]
Yes Yes Yes No No Yes 625
Gray - replace this image male.svg
Derrick Michael Reid
Political analyst and retired engineer (website) Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 543
Gray - replace this image female.svg
Merry Susan Nehls
No No No No Yes No 34
Keenan Dunham.jpg
Keenan Dunham
(Website) No No No No Yes No 18
Nathan Norman Photo.png
Nathan Norman
Entertainer Nathannormanforpresident.png
(Website)
No No No No Yes No 8

Shawna Joy Sterling
Non-fee Pastoral Counselor
(Website)
Yes No No No No No 1
Alternate ballot options:
No preference/
None of the above/
Uncommitted
N/A Yes Yes Yes No Yes No 3,209

Timeline of the race[edit]

Background[edit]

The 2016 United States presidential election was the twelfth contested election for the Libertarian Party of the United States. The 2004 presidential election saw Libertarian nominee Michael Badnarik appear on ballots in 48 states plus the District of Columbia. He received 0.3% of the popular vote, and came fourth behind the two major parties' nominees as well as third-placed independent Ralph Nader.[20] In the 2008 election, Bob Barr was nominated as the Libertarian Parties's candidate for the presidency and had ballot access to 45. However, Barr insignificantly improved upon Badnarik's performance, capturing only 0.4% of the popular vote in an election that also saw Nader finish a strong third behind the Democratic and Republican parties.[21]

Having received minimal publicity in the previous elections, which contributed to the low voting share that the party received, the Libertarian Party gained significant exposure and media attention in the lead-up to the 2012 Libertarian National Convention and the 2012 presidential election, starting with former two term New Mexico governor Gary Johnson's announcement of his presidential run with the Libertarian Party.[22][23][24] Using the publicity gained from the announcement, Johnson praised the Libertarian Party and championed their beliefs through interviews and public statements, which were often profane and harshly critical of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Johnson won the nomination at the 2012 Libertarian National Convention running to be more fiscally conservative than Republican nominee Mitt Romney and more socially liberal than Democratic President Barack Obama. Johnsons's campaign for the presidency focused mostly on keeping the publicity gained by the Libertarian Party and gaining support from independents and dissenting Democratic and Republican voters, often echoing resentment towards the two parties. This included a court challenge against the Commission on Presidential Debates by Johnson that sought to include him in the official presidential election debates.[25][26]

On election day, Johnson oversaw a relatively sharp rise in the Libertarian Party's popularity, earning 1% of the popular vote (1,275,821 votes), across the Libertarian Party's ballot access in 48 states plus DC.[27] The result was double the number Bob Barr received in 2008, pushing the Libertarian Party from a lower-tier third party to the most popular third party.[28] In this election Johnson received the most votes ever in the Libertarian Party passing Ed Clark's candidacy in 1980. This was the most successful result for a third-party presidential candidacy since 2000.[29][30]

January 2015 to January 2016: Early candidates[edit]

On January 7, physician Marc Allen Feldman became one of the first candidates to enter the race for the 2016 nomination. Over the following months, candidacies were announced by Joy Waymire, Cecil Ince, Steve Kerbel, Shawna Joy Sterling, Derrick Michael Reid, and Rhett Smith. In early September, candidates entering the race included John David Hale, Jack Robinson Jr, and Austin Petersen.

On December 24, 2015, antivirus software pioneer John McAfee abandoned his previous effort to run as the candidate of a newly created Cyber Party, and announced he would instead seek the Libertarian nomination.[31] He had previously announced that his Cyber Party running mate would be Ken Rutkowski, but Rutkowski did not join him in seeking the Libertarian nomination.[32][33]

Gary Johnson formally announced his candidacy for the 2016 Libertarian presidential nomination, in an interview with Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Network program Coast to Coast, on January 6, 2016.[34]

April 2016: Top tier emerges[edit]

Though the Libertarian Party has little to no scientific polling and does not conduct binding primaries and caucuses, the first nationally televised pre-nominating convention Libertarian Party debate featured three candidates widely regarded as the leading contenders for the nomination: former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, founder and CEO of McAfee Inc. John McAfee and owner and founder of The Libertarian Republic Austin Petersen.[35] A later debate hosted by RT America featured Marc Allan Feldman, Kevin McCormick, and Darryl Perry, however neither received as much media attention as the three candidates in the top tier.[36]

Early May 2016: Ventura declines to run[edit]

Jesse Ventura speaking in Minnesota in 2016.

In several late 2015 interviews including those on The Alan Colmes Show and In Depth with Graham Bensinger, Jesse Ventura publicly flirted with the idea of running for president in 2016 as a Libertarian.[37] Beginning on February 29, 2016, Ventura again made headlines following an announcement that if Bernie Sanders were to lose the Democratic Party nomination to Hillary Clinton, he would launch a presidential campaign under the Libertarian Party. Ventura subsequently appeared on RT, CNN, Alex Jones and various local radio outlets the following several days reiterating interest in a presidential campaign. He likewise revealed that he was formally invited to the 2016 Libertarian National Convention in Orlando, Florida by party leaders and that he would announce by the end of March if he were to go that route.[38][39] On March 3, 2016 Ventura released a shortlist of preliminary campaign platforms if he were to run for president. Included were rebuilding infrastructure, focusing on alternative energy, ending all foreign wars and following the teachings of Major General Smedley Butler, ending the war on drugs and reforming campaign financing.[40] Ventura ultimately decided not to seek the presidency, allowing his self determined deadline of May 1 to pass without an announcement. In mid-July, Ventura wrote an article declaring his support for Gary Johnson.[41]

Late May 2016: Johnson consolidates support[edit]

Gary Johnson speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.

After Donald Trump won the Indiana Primary on May 3, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich suspended their campaigns, Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party.[42][43] This sparked the Stop Trump movement, also referred to as #NeverTrump to consider running an independent candidate of their own such as former Texas governor Rick Perry, former Republican nominee Mitt Romney or Nebraska senator Ben Sasse, all of whom declined to run.[44] As the filing deadline for Texas and other states quickly passed, the Libertarian Party gained national recognition when Gary Johnson was included in a national poll conducted by Monmouth University and received 11 percent.[45] Johnson was quickly deemed the front-runner for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination and was featured in subsequent polls.[46][47] Johnson's name was also Googled more times than the Libertarian Party itself, and was featured in many interviews by the mainstream media, something that none of the Libertarian candidates had been able to do thus far in the campaign.[48] During the 2016 Libertarian National Convention various news networks flocked to the convention, and CSPAN covered the results.[1][49]

Polling[edit]

National polling[edit]

Poll source Sample size Date(s) Margin of Error Feldman Johnson McAfee Perry Petersen Others
Hammer of Truth[50] 156 Libertarian Convention delegates/alternates May 17–20, 2016 ± 4.5% 2% 61% 10% 8% 17% Not sure 2%
Other 1%

2016 online polling[edit]

Poll source Sample
size
Date(s) Feldman Garcia Ince Johnson Kerbel McAfee McCormick Perry Petersen Reid Robinson Smith Sterling Waymire Zeman Others
Liberty Hangout[51] 617 May 10–24 O 14% O 23% 63% O N/A
Conservatarian Report[52] 919 May 13–23 O 29% O 19% 52% O N/A
A Libertarian Future[53] 7,315 May 1–15 O 36.8% O 13.8% 49.4% O N/A
A Libertarian Future[54] 2,622 Apr 16–30 O 37.9% O 24.6% 37.5% O N/A
A Libertarian Future[55] 3,867 Apr 1–15 O 40.8% O 21.4% 4.2% 3.7% 29.9% None of the Above 3%
Libertarian Party website[56] 9,102 Mar 17–31 1% 0% 0% 58% O 7% 9% 5% 13% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% None of the Above 1%/
Other 4%
A Libertarian Future[57] 3,483 Mar 15–31 0.6% 50.5% O 10.0% 4.4% 34.4% None of the Above 1%
Libertarian Party website[58] 8,609 Feb 20–
Mar 17
1% 0% 54% 4% 14% 2% 18% 0% 1% 0% 1% 0% None of the Above 2%/
Other 4%
A Libertarian Future[59] 3,247 Mar 1–15 44.1% 7.3% 14.0% 10.7%* 23.7% None of the Above 0%
A Libertarian Future[60] 3,341 Feb 12–29 2.3% 46.5% 11.0% 9.2% 31.0% None of the Above 1%
iSideWith.com[61] 31,154 Mar 16–25 0% 0% 0% 88% 0% 4% 0% 0% 8% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% N/A

*Darryl W. Perry allegedly paid participants to "stuff" the poll, after which extra security measures were implemented and his name was excluded from future polls. Therefore, this result of 10.7% is not authentic.[62]

Primaries and caucuses[edit]

Minnesota caucuses[edit]

Type: Open

Missouri primary[edit]

Type: Open

North Carolina primary[edit]

Type: Semi-closed

Nebraska primary[edit]

Type: Semi-closed

Oregon primary[edit]

California primary[edit]

Type: Semi-closed[69]

2016 National Convention[edit]

Libertarian National Convention Presidential vote, 2016 – 1st Round[72]
Candidate first ballot Percentage
Gary Johnson 458 49.51%
Austin Petersen 197 21.30%
John McAfee 131 14.16%
Darryl Perry 63 6.81%
Marc Allen Feldman 58 6.27%
Kevin McCormick 9 0.97%
None of the above 5 0.54%
Ron Paul (Write-in) 1 0.11%
Vermin Supreme (Write-in) 1 0.11%
Heidi Zemen (Write-in) 1 0.11%
Derrick Grayson (Write-in) 1 0.11%
Totals 925 100%

No candidate achieved the majority on the first ballot, so there was a second ballot vote. After finishing last of the six nominated candidates, McCormick was excluded from the second ballot.

Libertarian National Convention Presidential vote, 2016 – 2nd Ballot[72]
Candidate Second Ballot Percentage
Gary Johnson 518 55.82%
Austin Petersen 203 21.88%
John McAfee 131 14.12%
Darryl Perry 52 5.60%
Marc Allen Feldman 18 1.94%
None of the above 2 0.22%
Derrick Grayson (Write-in) 1 0.11%
Michael Shannon (Write-in) 1 0.11%
Kevin McCormick (Write-in) 1 0.11%
Rhett Smith (Write-in) 1 0.11%
Totals 928 100%

Endorsements[edit]

Gary Johnson campaign[edit]

Political figures[edit]

Mayors and other municipal or county leaders[edit]
  • Jeff Krauss, former mayor of Bozeman, Montana [73]
International political figures[edit]
Other politicians[edit]

Businesspeople[edit]

  • Steve Kerbel, businessman, entrepreneur and former 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate[80]
  • Robert Sarvis, attorney, businessman, politician and software developer[81]

Media personalities[edit]

Actors and comedians[edit]

Athletes and sports figures[edit]

Musicians and artists[edit]

Commentators, writers and columnists[edit]

Radio hosts[edit]

Social and political activists[edit]

John McAfee campaign[edit]

Austin Petersen campaign[edit]

Commentators, writers, and columnists[edit]

Mary Matalin speaking at a Bipartisan Policy event at Tulane University in 2009

Others[edit]

Campaign finance[edit]

As of March 31, 2016 three candidates have reported their fundraising amounts to the Federal Election Commission; Gary Johnson, John McAfee and Austin Petersen.

Campaign committee (as of March 31) Total spent Suspended
campaign
Money raised Money spent Cash on hand Debt
Gary Johnson[110] $278,976 $243,924 $35,031 $0 $243,924 Election
John McAfee[111] $8,057 $7,858 $149 $0 $7,858 May 29, 2016
Austin Petersen[112] $112,812 $95,441 $17,371 $0 $95,441 May 29, 2016

Vice presidential primary[edit]

As of May 21, 2016, there were nine vice presidential candidates running.[113]

  • Alicia Dearn from Missouri (endorsed by Austin Petersen at Convention)[114]
  • William Coley from Tennessee (endorsed by Darryl W. Perry)
  • Daniel Hogan from Missouri
  • Kerry Douglas McKennon from Texas
  • Jeff Mortenson from Mississippi
  • Larry Sharpe from New York
  • Mark Stewart from Connecticut
  • Judd Weiss from California (endorsed by John McAfee)
  • Bill Weld from Massachusetts (endorsed by Gary Johnson)

The Libertarian Party's vice presidential candidate is elected by the delegates at the LNC after the presidential nominee is announced. Vice presidential candidates are often endorsed or preferred by presidential candidates, but some have entered without a specific presidential nominee in mind, or a preference from any of them.

Bill Weld, former Governor of Massachusetts, was nominated for Vice President after having previously been announced as Johnson's intended running mate. The selection proved controversial within the party, but also resulted in a spike in media coverage of the prospective ticket. Two governors running as a ticket attracted attention, in part because it had not happened for any party since the United States presidential election, 1948.

As with Johnson in the presidential nomination, Weld narrowly failed to secure a majority on the first ballot. He was nominated on the second ballot, defeating runner-up Larry Sharpe.

See also[edit]

Debates

Presidential primaries

National Conventions

References[edit]

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