The Libertarian Party Presidential Nominee who will spar vs. Trump & Biden selected

by Ian Golan

photographs by Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, distributed under a CC BY-SA  4.0 license.

Libertarian National Convention decided that Chase Oliver will be the Libertarian Party Candidate for the office of President of the United States. Oliver received 49.53% of delegate votes, while his last contender left in round 6: Michael Rectenwald received 44.73%. Since neither of the candidates won 50%, the vote moved to one more round with Oliver vs. NOTA. Chase Oliver then won a majority of the votes. Chase Oliver received support from Mike Ter Maat, who was eliminated in the 5th round. Ter Maat accepted the offer to join the presidential ticket with Oliver as his VP. Delegates chose him for the vice-presidential nominee in a separate vote later that evening.

Major loss for the Mises Caucus

The result is a major loss for the incumbent Mises Caucus faction, which has garnered control over all of the Libertarian National Committee in 2022 in what they named “The Takeover”. At the time the likely candidate for president was comic Dave Smith, who later after years of speculation and teasing the idea decided not to run.

Michael Rectenwald was the replacement for Dave Smith, who gained the official support of the Mises Caucus, after his withdrawal from the race. A former Marxist professor at New York University, he grew disillusioned with the left about social justice issues. He became a senior fellow at the Mises Institute and wrote books on culture war topics, the latest being  The Great Reset and the Struggle for Liberty (2022).

His campaign strategy has been mostly focused on podcast appearances, Rectenwald is a frequent guest on Tim Pool’s podcast and sees this as a much more effective way of reaching the desired electorate.  Rectenwald has been one of the few candidates enthusiastic about the decision to invite Trump to the convention. On his Twitter account, he called it “an opportunity to educate Trump on the principles of the freedom philosophy”. Rectenwald has previously shown an affinity towards Donald Trump. He donated money to the Trump campaign in 2020 and tweeted from his previous account: “Trump is giving a world-historical speech right now. It’s almost over. It was so moving I am actually crying.”.

Who is the nomination winner?

The winner of the race Chase Oliver was much more vocal in his disdain for Trump. He tweeted: “The Republican Party wasn’t smart enough to reject Trump. Libertarians absolutely should reject him and his grift”. Chase Oliver was the candidate who captured national media attention after he ran in the US Senate election in Georgia. His 2% result forced a run-off vote, that left the majority in the Senate uncertain. Oliver focused his campaign on positive messaging and intensive campaigning, he was the first candidate to visit all 50 states. He has gained the support of the Classical Liberal Caucus, the Radical Caucus, and the Liberation Caucus. What is more, Oliver has won most of the non-binding presidential primaries. He had the biggest share in six states out of fourteen.

Can libertarians cause a contentious election?

The fourth candidate was tech entrepreneur Lars Mapstead, founder of Friend Finder Networks. The start-up created an online dating service, that sold to Penthouse for 500 million dollars. Mapstead had Larry Sharpe on his ticket for the vice-presidential position. Moreover, Mapstead was the only libertarian to make it into more than a dozen electoral polls. The candidate credits this to his plan Stop270.

The proposed strategy aims to win one or two electoral votes. This means the campaign would focus on the states of Maine and Nebraska. The two states have rare electoral legislation, and so an electoral vote can be gained with just under 200,000 votes. In such a case, if the election was sufficiently close, neither Trump nor Biden would receive enough votes to win. Thus libertarians would cause a contingent election. The Libertarian Party has only received an electoral vote once in its history. The single vote came from a faithless elector from Virginia, over fifty years ago.

In the 5th place was Joshua Smith once upon a time a Mises Caucus nominee for the Chair of the Libertarian National Committee. In 2022 he found himself in conflict with the faction, who decided not to support his run for the Vice-Chair of LNC. Smith won the contest regardless but resigned from the position in February 2023. In July 2023 he announced his run for the presidential nomination. Smith embraces much of the Mises Caucus message in his campaign. Amongst those is the need for what they call “bold and principled messaging”.

Below you will find graphs with approximate results for each round of voting.

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