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Libertarian Party holds annual state convention | Politics

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Libertarian Party holds annual state convention

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas Libertarian Party held its convention this weekend. On Saturday, members decided on their nominees for various political positions.

"It's only the second time we've been able to nominate candidates in the name of Libertarian Party," said Frank Gilbert, who won the party's nomination for gubernatorial candidate.

The long-time third-party group is relatively young in Arkansas. They've doubled their party numbers here in the state in just two years.

"We've been called kooks by many people and marginalized, but in reality, I view us as visionaries," said Geoffrey Neale, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee. "If you are Republican and Democrat, you can play in the game but if you're not, tough."

They call themselves the party of choice.

"I care about people; I care about rights for all," said party member Libby Madar.

She believes people have misconceptions about what the party stands for. They want a smaller, de-centralized government and the freedom to make their own decisions.

"Liberty is something you cannot have for yourself until you grant it for others," Neale said. "The number one job of the government is protecting the rights of individuals."

The convention also included seminars on fundraising and activism, and for the Vice Chair of Pulaski Libertarian Party, Ilyssa Grisham, it's about making a difference.

"To bring about change it has to start in small amounts," she said. "You have to start from the bottom and make it to the top."

After an unofficial primary debate, Frank Gilbert emerged as the party's gubernatorial candidate.

Libertarian Nominees

  • Governor: Frank Gilbert 
  • Lieutenant Governor: Chris Olson 
  • U.S. Senate: Nathan LaFrance 
  • U.S. Rep, District 1: Brian Willhite 
  • U.S. Rep, District 2: Debbie Standiford 
  • U.S. Rep, District 3: Grant Brand 
  • U.S. Rep, District 4: Ken Hamilton

A good showing in November could help Libertarians' efforts to infiltrate the two-party system. If Gilbert wins three percent of the state's vote this fall, the party won't have to petition to get on the ballot in 2016.

"We've got a good bunch of people here; they're the right kind of people to attract even more," Neale said.

As long as they get that three percent, Gilbert said it would be a step in the right direction.

"Brother Adams, the second president of the United States said that no vote cast in good conscious is a wasted vote, and I agree with him," he said.