LP Picks Candidates, Board
by Ari Armstrong, originally published May 20
Libertarians voted May 18 for Rick Stanley to run for U.S. Senate and Ralph Shnelvar to run for Governor. LP members also selected a new board and nominated a total of 51 candidates at the convention in Leadville. The most contentious race was between Stanley and Steve D'Ippolito. On the first ballot, D'Ippolito received 65 votes to Stanley's 63. "None of the Above" pulled in 19 votes. On the second ballot, Stanley won with 78 votes to D'Ippolito's 67.
While most Libertarians agreed Stanley was the more vibrant candidate with a better-established campaign, many criticized him for needlessly attacking other Libertarians, advancing conspiracy theories, and calling for the hanging of Senator Wayne Allard. Stanley apologized at Saturday's banquet and said he would "tone down" his rhetoric.
On May 16, Stanley was convicted of a Denver jury of a misdemeanor charge of carrying a gun on his hip in the city. Stanley wore the gun at a Bill of Rights Rally last December as an act of civil disobedience. Jurors were prohibited by the judge from seeing the text relevant to firearms from the U.S. and Colorado Constitutions. Most -- but not all -- Libertarians supported Stanley's action. That act, along with the accompanying press coverage, probably contributed to Stanley's vote total. Stanley said he'll appeal the legal case.
Shnelvar defeated James Vance, who began his run for governor with the Reform Party last year before joining the LP. At the banquet, Shnelvar recognized Vance for his graciousness and asked him to stand for applause. Desiree Hickson became Shnelvar's running mate.
Other candidates for state-wide office include David Aitken for Secretary of State, Dwight Harding for Attorney General, and Gaar Potter for Treasurer. Numerous candidates were nominated for state house, state senate, and county-wide races.
Three board members retained their positions. John Berntson won the vote against Michael McKinzie to remain chair. Norm Olsen returned as Campaign Director, and Potter agreed to stay on as Treasurer.
McKinzie joined the board as Outreach Director. Brian Rachocki served in that position before he went overseas to serve in the military. Mike Seebeck replaced Kent McNaughton as Public Information Director. Outgoing Information Director David Bryant agreed to help newcomer Margaret Denny step into that position.
Floyd Bilderback took over as Legislative Director, replacing Judd Ptak. Richard Combs stepped down as Publications Director and nominated Vance for the position. The position of Fundraiser remains unfilled. Shawn Elke Glazer stepped down from that role.
The business meeting of the convention ran on Saturday morning from around 8:00 am till 12:30 pm. The convention also featured a banquet Saturday night with Sheriff Bill Masters, candidate training Sunday morning with Steve Givot, and numerous other speakers over the weekend. On Friday night, Libertarians met at the Delaware Hotel in Leadville to register for the event and socialize. The staff of the Delaware handled the banquet Saturday at the National Mining Museum, which contains a large hall and meeting rooms. Leadville Libertarian Carol Hill helped coordinate the convention (with me), and Hill's fellow Libertarian city council members Lisa Dowdney and Ken Cary also assisted.
Colorado Libertarians also selected a partial slate of delegates for the national LP convention later this summer. McNaughton introduced a rule change to require candidates to be party members 60 days prior to their nomination.
Over 180 people attended Saturday's banquet, believed to be a record for a Colorado LP convention.