Stephen P. Gordon

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Stephen P. "Steve" Gordon (July 31, 1962 - September 5, 2018) was a libertarian political consultant[1] with the firm Forward Focus Media and a political activist. At the time of his death, he was writing at The Next Right[2] and The Liberty Papers[3] and served in several positions, including Director, for the Alabama chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus.[4][5]

Gordon accepted the position of Communications Director for the national Libertarian Party in June, 2006 and served as the party's Political Director until June 2007.[6] After resigning his position with the national party, he was named Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alabama at the LPA's 24 June 2007 convention.

In addition to his former positions with the national Libertarian Party, Gordon was co-editor of the libertarian news blog Hammer of Truth,[7] owned and edited the website Third Party Watch,[8] he taught campaign management at the Libertarian Leadership School,[9] and is a member of the American Association of Political Consultants.[10]

He was the campaign Communications Director during Michael Badnarik's run for President of the United States during the 2004 elections. Gordon also managed Hollywood producer Aaron Russo's campaign for the Libertarian nomination in 2004.[11] He served as Ron Paul's[12] Alabama Media Coordinator and Bob Barr's e-Campaign manager during the 2008 presidential elections.[13]

Gordon did not run for re-election for any of his Libertarian Party positions in 2008 and is currently working with the Republican Liberty Caucus.[14] He has served as a consultant or in a senior campaign position on multiple Republican campaigns since then.

Political background[edit]

Gordon's first notable position with a political campaign was managing south Arlington County, Virginia during the Oliver North for Senate campaign. Following the Republican Revolution in 1994, Gordon became increasingly disenchanted with the Republican Party. His gradual transformation to the Libertarian Party was completed by 1999, when he was a local organizer in Macon, Georgia for Harry Browne's presidential campaign.

Gordon moved back to his native Alabama in 2002 where he became involved in state level Libertarian Party activities. His first project was manage Libertarian Party efforts to defeat Amendment One, the tax increase plan proposed by Republican Governor Bob Riley. He was credited by talk radio host Russ Fine as a "the leader in Internet activism" for his efforts in directing an online campaign against the tax plan, as well as for his article titled "Open Letter to the Governor of Alabama[15]", which spread across the Internet during the political debate on the issue. Under Gordon's direction, the Libertarian Party of Alabama hosted a meeting in Birmingham, Alabama between many of the key people and organizations opposing the ballot measure. Key personalities from the Tennessee Tax Revolt, Inc. shared their experiences from recent tax battles in the neighboring state. In attendance were representatives from the Eagle Forum, talk radio programs, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Libertarian Party and local businessman Stan Pate. The primary result of this meeting was a coordinated coalition activity geared toward defeating the ballot measure. While the Alabama Republican Party eventually offered a weak disapproval of Riley's tax plan, the Libertarian Party of Alabama was the only political party to offer active resistance to the proposed tax hike. The measure was rejected by voters on September 9, 2003, with 68 percent opposed to it.

From 2003 to 2005, Gordon was involved with various state level political activities. Gordon served as Vice Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alabama from 2004 until his resignation in 2006. During the 2005 elections, Gordon consulted with city council campaigns in Birmingham, Alabama. After his 2007 resignation from his national LP staff position, he accepted the position of Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alabama.[16] Gordon served as Chair of the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance, the Libertarian Party's organization of state chairs, from 2008 to 2009.[17] In 2009, Gordon worked to help Kim Rafferty become elected to the Birmingham City Council.[18]

2004 presidential election[edit]

In early 2004, Aaron Russo asked Gordon to manage his campaign for president of the United States. While some considered Russo's earthy, emotionally powerful presentation a bit rough for polite circles, others considered him to pose a serious threat to incumbent President George W. Bush, pulling enough votes from otherwise likely Bush voters to affect the outcome in battleground states, in the same way that Ralph Nader was considered to be in relation to Democrat John Kerry. [19][20]

At the LP national convention in Atlanta, Georgia in May 2004, Russo narrowly won a plurality on the first two ballots, but not a majority. He was defeated on the third and final ballot by nominee Michael Badnarik by a vote of 423–344. George Washington University credited Gordon[21] with running a "professional campaign" as well as directing two television commercials and a well designed website.

Following Russo's loss at the Libertarian Party Convention, Gordon eventually became the Communications Director for the Badnarik campaign, for which he utilized the Internet to raise about one third of the approximately million dollars raised during the campaign.

Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb were arrested in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 8, 2004, for an act of civil disobedience. Badnarik and Cobb were protesting their exclusion from the presidential debates of the 2004 presidential election campaign. They were arrested after crossing a police barricade in an attempt to serve an "Order to Show Cause" to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Gordon's blog coverage[22] of the event at Badnarik's website was the primary news source of the arrest.

By the end of the election cycle, Badnarik's presidential campaign had obtained ballot access in 48 states plus the District of Columbia (the Libertarian Party failed to obtain ballot access in Oklahoma and New Hampshire, although Badnarik received write-in votes in New Hampshire), and placed nationwide political advertisements on CNN and Fox News in addition to local advertising buys in the swing states of Wisconsin, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona.

No national polls including Badnarik had put him above 1.5%, though one poll put him at 5% in New Mexico and another at 3% at Nevada.[23] A Rasmussen Group poll on 26 October 2004 put Badnarik at 3% in Arizona.[24] Gordon coordinated most of the polling operations for this campaign.

Badnarik polled just under 400,000 popular votes nationwide, in the 2 November 2004 election, taking 0.34% of the popular vote and placing fourth, just behind Ralph Nader.

2008 presidential election[edit]

Gordon was involved in Ron Paul's 2008 Republican primary presidential race at a state level, serving as the Alabama Media Coordinator for the campaign.[25] While Paul won decisive straw poll victories in Tuscaloosa[26] and Jefferson County.,[27] he ultimately lost Alabama's Super Tuesday, 2008 election to Mike Huckabee.

Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr introduced Ron Paul at the 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference. Later during the conference, Paul sent out an e-mail indicating his intent to draw down his presidential race.[28][29] Gordon was photographed with Barr at CPAC[30] and later credited by Washington Times Assistant National Editor Robert Stacy McCain with starting a draft movement for Barr,[31] which was later covered by the Washington Times.[32]

The 2008 Libertarian National Convention was conducted in Denver, Colorado over Memorial Day weekend. Gordon managed convention floor operations for Barr's campaign, which maintained that he was the underdog in the race due to his late entry and internal Libertarian politics. While Barr eventually won the nomination after six rounds of voting and was generally credited with running a clean campaign, Gordon was criticized for selling Third Party Watch, considered "the premier 'third party news site' on the Internet" to conservative icon Richard Viguerie immediately before the convention.[33][34][35][36][37][38]

Following the 2008 elections[edit]

On April 12, 2009 both Roger Hedgecock and Gordon were credited with leaking a controversial Department of Homeland Security document which many people considered a direct attack on the conservative movement.[39][40][41]

Gordon was among the first Alabamians quoted when Congressman Parker Griffith of Alabama's 5th congressional district swapped political parties, becoming a Republican.

"Welcome to the party, Parker,"[42] wrote Gordon at the Alabama Republican Liberty Caucus website. "Here's an electronic copy of the Constitution. Read it well, as you will have to continue to dodge us if you continue to disregard it."[43][44]

Gordon has been involved with and written extensively about the Tea Party protests of 2009.[45] His primary speaking points have been for the Tea Party movement to stick with fiscal topics,[46] that many Republicans share the blame with Democrats for the current fiscal environment,[47] that certain conservative organizations are trying to astroturf the movement[48] and how candidates can pick up support from Tea Party supporters.[49] He's been covered by multiple nationally significant publications and television programs on the topic. [50][unreliable source] [51]

In 2010, Gordon's company Forward Focus Media supported over a dozen Republican campaigns in Alabama and Georgia, including Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. Gordon served as e-Campaign Director for Tim James's GOP gubernatorial bid in Alabama that year.[52][53] The campaign was noted for their use of social media and viral videos. A campaign commercial calling for the ending of multilingual testing for drivers' licenses gained attention in the national media and on the internet.[54][55][56] The advertisement has drawn criticism from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, the editorial page of The New York Times, CNN's Rick Sanchez, Fox News Channel's Juan Williams, and Comedy Central comedian Daniel Tosh.[57][58][59]

Also in 2010, Gordon co-organized an event to bring former Republican New Mexico governor Gary Johnson to Alabama for a speaking engagement.[60] Gordon ended up serving as the South East Regional Director during the Republican Party phase of Johnson's presidential campaign.[61][unreliable source] Following Gordon's resignation from the Johnson campaign, Gordon continued to campaign against Mitt Romney, the eventual Republican presidential nominee. In particular, he accused Romney of pandering to southern voters when he claimed that he enjoyed "cheesy grits" during a campaign stop in Mississippi. "If you're going to pander, at least pander well, and this isn't pandering well," Gordon told The Boston Herald. The story was picked up by a variety of national media sources, including Yahoo! News and Hardball with Chris Matthews.[62][63][64] Gordon had also criticized Romney in the 2008 Republican primary campaign, stating that Alabama voters "want a president with Alabama values, not Massachusetts values."[65]

Gordon endorsed Bill Armistead as a candidate for Chair of the Alabama Republican Party in January 2011. In the endorsement, Gordon identified himself a Tea Party activist, member of Jefferson County GOP Executive Committee and Chairman of the Alabama Republican Liberty Caucus. Armistead was elected Chair, and was subsequently re-elected in 2013.[66]

Gordon was involved a nearly fatal head-on automobile collision in Hartselle, Alabama on April 12, 2011. He suffered from a crushed chest and foot, along with a broken arm and other injuries. According to social media accounts, he wasn't expected to walk again even if he had survived the accident. He reports that he was discharged prematurely from the hospital as a result of the tornado outbreak that struck Alabama.[67][unreliable source] [68]

Following his accident, Gordon's first known public appearance was to speak at the 2011 Prohibition Party national convention, which was held in Cullman, Alabama. This becomes especially interesting, as Gordon strongly supported the repeal of local alcohol sales laws in local elections in 2010 and 2012 in Hartselle, Alabama, which is approximately twenty miles north of Cullman. He went so far as to run a pro-alcohol sales blog entitled The Hartselle Tavern. [69][70]

In addition to his role as president of Forward Focus Media, Gordon is also listed as the Chief Information Officer for JAGTV, a project with a stated goal of launching a libertarian television network capable of competing with the Fox News Channel, as well as serving as a libertarian lifestyle network focusing "less on news and more on the concepts that living a freer life would entail." [71][72]


  1. ^ Gordon, Stephen P. "Team Members"
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Gordon, Stephen P. "National Media Spotlight." 20 April 2009
  5. ^ "Alabama Leaders React" 20 November 2012
  6. ^ Gordon, Stephen P. "Letter of Resignation." 18 June 2007. [3]
  7. ^ [4]
  8. ^ Gordon, Stephen P. "Gordon Buys Third Party Watch." 6 December 2007. [5]
  9. ^ [6]
  10. ^ [7]
  11. ^ Liberty For All article "Russo for President." 29 February 2004. [8]
  12. ^ Gordon, Stephen P. "Forward Focus Media Team." 1 January 2010. [9]
  13. ^ LA Times article "Top of the ticket." 18 October 2008
  14. ^ Gordon, Stephen P. "Media Contact Page." 5 January 2010
  15. ^ [10]
  16. ^ "Libertarian Party names Gordon state chairman." 27 June 2007. [11]
  17. ^ Gordon, Stephen P. "Libertarian Party." 13 January 2009
  18. ^ Kim Rafferty/Politics Magazine "Forward Focus Media blog." 1 January 2010. [12]
  19. ^ [13]
  20. ^ [14]
  21. ^ [15]
  22. ^ [16]
  23. ^ Michael Badnarik#note-1
  24. ^ Michael Badnarik#note-2
  25. ^ Gordon, Stephen P. "Rachel Maddow Transcript." 14 April 2009. [17]
  26. ^ Gordon, Stephen P. "Tuscaloosa Straw Poll."
  27. ^ Gordon, Stephen P. ""
  28. ^ Ron Paul campaign e-mail "Ron Paul supporter's blog" February 2008 [18]
  29. ^ Bob Barr campaign video "Bob Barr introduces Ron Paul at CPAC" February 2008 [19]
  30. ^ Robert Stacy McCain's personal blog "Why Not Bob" The Other McCain
  31. ^ Robert Stacy McCain's personal blog "NY Times Smears Me" The Other McCain.[20]
  32. ^ Washington Times article "Libertarians seek Barr candidacy"[21]
  33. ^ American Spectator article "Fear and Loathing in Denver"
  34. ^ Reason article "Citizen Bob"
  35. ^ Reason article "Three Hits and a Miss"
  36. ^ Reason article "Anarchists of the World Unite"
  37. ^ Reason article "The Big Takeover"
  38. ^ NPR audio "Libertarians Pick Barr"
  39. ^ Liberty Papers "Homeland Security Document Targets..."[22]
  40. ^ Libertarian Republican "Alabama Libertarian Stephen Gordon" Libertarian Republican blog.[23]
  41. ^ Michelle Malkin "Confirmed: Obama Hit Job Real"
  42. ^ [24]
  43. ^ Michelle Malkin "Alabama Democrat Announces Switch to GOP"[25]
  44. ^ Washington Independent "Conservatives not ready to embrace party switcher"[26]
  45. ^ The Liberty Papers article "Alabama Tea Party Report" 16 April 2009 [27]
  46. ^ Liberty Papers "Addressing Some Tea Party Concerns"[28]
  47. ^ Hot Air "Stephen Gordon Tea Bags Rachel Maddow"
  48. ^ Raw Story "A Divided Tea Party" 15 April 2009
  49. ^ The Next Right article "How candidates can pick up support from the Tea Party and libertarian crowd" 17 November 2009 [29]
  50. ^ IPR "Steve Gordon on Rachel Maddow Again" December 2009 [30]
  51. ^ The Atlantic "The Tea Parties Were Hijacked" April, 2009 [31]
  52. ^ Forward Focus Media "Portfolio"
  53. ^ Hartselle Tavern Blog "Happy Days Are Here Again" October, 2010 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 27, 2010. Retrieved May 12, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  54. ^ Political Skinny,Mobile Press-Register
  55. ^ Video: The obligatory “Tim James ‘we speak English’” ad,
  56. ^ Tim James, Superstar,Washington Post
  57. ^ Campaigning is so easy a caveman can do it,Birmingham News
  58. ^ James' ad stirs up debate across US,Montgomery Advertiser
  59. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 31, 2010. Retrieved September 21, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  60. ^ Young Americans for Liberty "Alabama Republican Liberty Caucus Evening with Governor Gary Johnson " November, 2010 [32]
  61. ^ Independent Political Report "IPR Exclusive: Gary Johnson to announce..." December, 2011 [33]
  62. ^ Boston Herald "Mitt Romney's grits and catfish act goes too far for Southern critics" March, 2012 [34]
  63. ^ Yahoo! News "Romney Grits: A Michigan Yankee Inexpertly Panders for Southern Vote" March, 2012 [35]
  64. ^ Hardball With Chris Matthews "Transcript for Tuesday, March 12, 2012" March, 2012 [36]
  65. ^ Ron Paul Forums clip of Huntsville Times article "Romney Visits Alabama" August, 2007 [37]
  66. ^ Bill Armistead "True Conservative Values" January, 2011 [38]
  67. ^ Hartselle Enquirer "Drivers in Crash Identified" April 12, 2011 [39]
  68. ^ Facebook "Status Update"
  69. ^ Hartselle Tavern Blog "About" 2010
  70. ^ Hartselle Tavern Blog "Welcome to Hartselle Tavern" October, 2010 [40]
  71. ^ JAGTV "About" March, 2013
  72. ^ JAGTV "Team" 2013

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