As reported earlier by Jacob Sullum and Brian Doherty, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld is the favorite to win the Libertarian nod for governor of New York. (The state allows candidates to run with the nominations of multiple parties.) No question: This could be the best thing that's ever happened to the 800-member party.
If Mr. Weld in the November election receives at least 50,000 votes on the Libertarian line, then the party would be awarded with an automatic position on the ballot for at least the next four years.
"The expectation is that we could replace the Conservatives in a kingmaker situation," the party's chairman, John Clifton, a social worker in Queens, said. He said he would like the party to use that leverage to "influence Republicans on Rockefeller and legalizing marijuana." New York's Rockefeller drug laws, which were adopted while Nelson Rockefeller was governor in 1973, mandate long prison sentences for those convicted of drug crimes. He said he hoped his party would follow the trajectory of the Green Party, which grew exponentially between 1998 and 2002, to about 30,000 members.
More than that, the Greens have actually elected at least one headline-making mayor in the city of New Paltz.
It's more likely than Weld winning the election, at any rate.