June 10th, 2011 By NIGEL JAQUISS | News | Posted In: Politics, Legislature

"Attempted Coup" in the Libertarian Party

Oregon State Capitol.Oregon's Capitol Building

The Libertarian Party of Oregon has a fractious recent history, featuring lots of infighting for control. And although registered Libertarians number only about 13,000 in Oregon, a little more than half of one percent of registered voters, they can play an important role in elections. In 2002, for instance, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Tom Cox got more votes than the margin by which Democrat Ted Kulongoski defeated Republican Kevin Mannix.

Last month, according to an account posted on the Libertarian Party of Oregon's website, an insurgent group tried to take control of the party. Why, you might ask, would that be worthwhile?

Well, the state is very narrowly divided right now. Consider the current 30-30 split in the Oregon House and the close 2010 gubernatorial result (Gov. John Kitzhaber won by fewer than 25,000 votes).

For the GOP, losing even a few votes to a third party—to "bleed," as campaign strategists call the phenomenon—could be costly. With that backdrop, here is an excerpt from the LPO's website:

A failed attempt at a bureaucratic coup of the Libertarian Party of Oregon raises a large number of questions. The primary of which is, who exactly is in control of the Libertarian National Committee?

First off though we need to review the facts of what happened:

A small group of members, most of which who have strong ties to Americans for Prosperity (described by Rush Limbaugh as a right wing organization), and one of which in particular, Richard P. Burke, is a paid employee of that organization, met on May 21st, 2011 at the time and place of a member convention that had been previously cancelled and rendered moot by the recent party re-organization. They subsequently submitted documents  to the Oregon Secretary of State in an attempt to gain control of the party.

 
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