Meet Lee Wrights, Libertarian Candidate for President

Las Vegas—It is looking more and more likely that Lee Wrights will be the only serious challenger to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson for the presidential nomination at the Libertarian National Convention. Wrights has support from both the purist elements within the party and Mary Ruwart, one of the more prominent so-called radical Libertarians.

Wrights, a burly North Carolina native who speaks with a strong southern drawl, does not like to hear any talk about there being different wings in the Libertarian Party.

“We’re not large enough to break ourselves up into smaller groups among ourselves. We’re just Libertarians. I don’t consider myself a representative of any wing of the Libertarian Party. Period. That’s what my campaign has been all about,” said Wrights.

When pressed further, Wrights dismissed the notion that he was a Libertarian purist.  

“Nobody asked me if I was a radical, if I was a reformer, if I was this, if I was that. They just lumped me into a group with people and said that’s where Lee Wrights is. If you ask me what I am, I am a radical reformer,” he said. 

For over a decade Wrights has worked on several libertarian news sites, notably the Rational Review News Digest and LibertyForAll.net. Wrights says that he generates the majority of his income from running those sites and the occasional consulting gig. 

Wrights, a former sergeant in the Air Force, sat down with Reason to talk about his candidacy, how his experience with Ruwart in 2008 changed him, how he feels about Bob Barr, and if he will support Johnson if he is the nominee. 

Correction: Due to a typo, this original post quoted Wrights as saying he did not represent the Libertarian Party. It has now been corrected to: "I don’t consider myself a representative of any wing of the Libertarian Party."

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  • sarcasmic||

    Rush 2112!

  • Tommy_Grand||

    "I don't consider myself a representative of the Libertarian Party. Period."

    Huh. Weird.

  • crazyfingers||

    I assume the "don't" was a typo on the reporter's part.

  • johnl||

    I hope so.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I think it would mean he doesn't think he should speak for libertarianism as though his word is some kind of official platform position of libertarians.

  • crazyfingers||

    Yeah, but it was said in the context of him denying the idea of factions within the Libertarian Party.

  • ||

    Unfortunately, in reality libertarians are at least as contentious as Scotsmen and metalheads. In fact, by lumping me in with him, Lee Wright has just made an enemy for life!

  • ||

    So if the enemy of my enemy is my friend, does that make me friends with you, or him? Or enemies? I'M SO CONFUSED

  • ||

    Think of both His Pestilency and Shit Flopney and therein lies your answer.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The official Libertarian position is that the enemy of my enemy can be exploited.

  • ||

    If you're following libertarian purity protocols, and can find a single minor point of policy to disagree with him or me on, we are all mortal enemies.

    Not like anyone listens to us (willingly) anyways. Sigh.

  • l0b0t||

    "Wrights, a burly North Carolina native who speaks with a strong southern drawl..."

    Sorry, anyone who thinks that is a strong Southern drawl has never actually met a Southron.

  • ||

    Seconded. That accent is more mild than mine was after a year in NC.

  • ||

    Well, it's probably enough to keep Ken Shultz from voting for him.

  • sloopyinca||

    I don't know if Wrights is that worried about it. I hear he's been pandering for the Cuntsayer vote all week. I'll let you all know when we get there in about 4 hours.

  • WWNGD?||

    Make the accent stop! I can hardly understand him!

  • Paul.||

    He does kind of have that Robert E. Lee thing going on...

  • Amakudari||

    This is what an incomprehensible NC accent sounds like. And this is a mountainfolk drawl. The more you know. Wrights sounds like he grew up near a city decades ago and he did, in a suburb of Winstom-Salem.

    The only folks I can't understand from my home state are those with that weird Outer Banks brogue.

  • affenkopf||

    Ugh, fair tax.

  • sarcasmic||

    Isn't that an oxymoron?

  • hk||

    What kind of tax do you like?

  • ||

    This is at least one assumption in there.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Flat tax. Or no tax.

  • sarcasmic||

    How can you engineer society without the ability to manipulate behavior and price signals through targeted taxation?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I didn't do very good in the eighth grade civics course.

  • ant1sthenes||

    SLV, at the state and local level. None, at the federal level (they should just collect revenue from the states).

  • ||

    I love that awkward 4 seconds at the end. Might I recommend not asking Johnson's opposition how they would feel voting for Johnson? It seems kind of low-class and sort of undermines the validity of other LP candidates.

    Not that I don't like Johnson, or anything, but it's sort of like asking Gingrich if he'd vote for Romney.

  • ||

    I think they did ask Gingrich and others if they would support "the eventual nominee", which was basically a euphemism for Romney.

  • ||

    This only proves my point that it is a classless move.

  • ||

    It seems kind of low-class and sort of undermines the validity of other LP candidates.

    +1

  • Brandon||

    Actually, based on his rhetoric, I would expect him to happily support Johnson as soon as the nomination is made.

  • ||

    I don't doubt that he would. But the two of them, and others, are competing for the nomination. If the main topic of the interview is "how much do you like your opponent?", then there's not exactly a great platform for serious discussion.

    I dunno, I just don't think that this is how Reason should be trying to cover the convention. It sells short the LP candidates by reducing them to admirers of a former Republican who, for all his good qualities, had to come around to the party to even have a substantial audience for his message.

  • Flex Nasty B.I.G.||

    If this dude were a serious contender, he'd respond to every single Gary Johnson question by bringing the focus back on HIS candidacy, HIS policy proposals, HIS chances. Ex: "well, I agree with the governor to an extent on X, but let me describe for you why I think my plan is a lot better." As it is, he lets the interviewer stay focused on Johnson.

    All that said, he seems like a decent guy based on what I see in the video.

  • Garett Quinn||

    Given what happened in 2008 with some LPers not voting for Barr, I think it's a worthy question, don't you?

  • ||

    I think it's a fine question; I don't think it's a fine way to approach the entire interview. The same thing was done when they talked to Mary Ruwart, and it's disappointing to see so little substance in a Reason video talking to Libertarians.

  • Garrett Quinn||

    The reason it is in the video is because I only recorded certain portions of my interviews. I try to incorporate original photography and video in as much stuff as I can post.

    I try to keep all my videos under 4:00 because 1) They upload faster 2) Most people won't watch anything longer than 5:00.

  • CE||

    How much money can you make running websites that hardly anyone visits? I had a blog with thousands of readers once, and I was lucky to make a hundred bucks every now and then....

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    SPLITTER!!!!

  • Alan||

    I met Mr. Wrights about 12 years ago. I'm not sure if he'd be a good president (though I'm sure he'd be better than Obama or Romney), but he is certainly a great person.

  • ||

    Lee Wrights seems fascinating.

    That video and its focus on the 2008 election did not do him justice.

    Can we mark this up, the video and article, as what a Libertarian inner candidate hit piece looks like?

  • Broseph of Invention||

    Nothing says "libertarian" like having a main publication whose title is a pun on a political magazine. Looking forward to Rockwell's presidential springboard "The Lew Republic".

  • plu1959||

    OT: Today Google honors Keith Haring, the most overrated artist of the 1980s.

  • Brandon||

    This is just distracting us from the real enemy: The American Constitution Party!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    OT: Daily nut-punch: Do you know this kid?

    http://bbc.in/J7yt8f

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, I just saw that. That sucks.

  • sloopyinca||

    FUCK! I'm gonna have to pour one on the sidewalk tonight for him.

    Here.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Just heard Sabotage on the radio a couple days ago.

  • NoTalentAssclown||

    RIP MCA

  • Paul.||

    He told fans: "I'm taking Tibetan medicine and at the recommendation of the Tibetan doctors I've been eating a vegan/organic diet."

    Whelp, so much for that. Vegan/organic, and you die at 47. Fuck that, if I'm dyin' at 47, I'm eating steak followed by shots of whisky, and closing the evening off with eight cigars.

  • Amakudari||

    From the obituary of Michael Blanchard:

    A Celebration of the life of Michael "Flathead" Blanchard will be held on April 14th, 3 pm 8160 Rosemary St, Commerce City. Weary of reading obituaries noting someone's courageous battle with death, Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors' orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.

    Mike was born July 1944 in Colorado to Clyde and Ethel Blanchard. A community activist, he is noted for saving the Dr. Justina Ford house from demolition and defending those who could not defend themselves. He was a Republican delegate, life member of the NRA, founder and President of the Dead Cats MC. He loved music.

    So many of his childhood friends that weren't killed in Vietnam went on to become criminals, prostitutes and/or Democrats. As the Celebration will contain Adult material we respectfully ask that no children under 18 attend.
  • Zeb||

    Let me know when you figure out how to know when you are going to die.

  • Paul.||

  • sloopyinca||

    I propose that anybody with the name "Lee" should add the initial R before it. It instantly gives them street cred as a bad motherfucker.

    Do I have a second?

  • R C Dean||

    My good man, the initial "R" adds street cred regardless of what follows.

    Motion seconded.

  • Paul.||

    All I want to know is is he an open drunk? I for one anxiously await our first openly drunk candidate for national office.

  • sloopyinca||

    What the hell was Teddy Kennedy?

  • Paul.||

    He lacked charm. Doesn't count.

  • Paul.||

    And he wasn't openly drunk.

  • sloopyinca||

    I thought he came out of the liquor cabinet at the William Kennedy Smith (farce of a) rape trial.

  • Paul.||

    Did he?

    (farce of a) rape trial.

    Ie, falsely accused?

  • sloopyinca||

    I have no idea if he was guilty or not, but the trial was a farce of OJ proportions. I can honestly say that I did not believe any witnesses testimony, whether they were there for the prosecution or the defense. If the courthouse had been nuked from orbit, the world would be a better place today.

  • sloopyinca||

    IRT Ted, I'm pretty sure I remember him talking about how drunk he was every night of the weekend and that he was walking around with his pecker hanging out in front of the girl.

    But it may have been his wife that was the open alkie while he was just a serial womanizer (NTTAWWT) and a really, really bad driver.

  • mr simple||

    Well, now I know where Lee Wrights stands on the Gary Johnson issue. Too bad you didn't have time to talk to him about say, I don't know, political issues maybe.

  • GILMORE||

    Needs moar monacle.

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