Over Memorial Day weekend, Bob Barr defeated George Phillies for the Libertarian Part
y's presidential nomination. But before the convention—indeed, before Barr had even entered the race—Libertarians in New Hampshire and Massachusetts circulated petitions to place Phillies on the ballot. The goal was to make sure the LP could get ballot access, but the result was that Phillies will be on the ballot in one or both states.
Last night, Phillies fired off this message about New Hampshire:
Libertarian Party of New Hampshire Presidential candidate George Phillies has filed his candidacy papers with New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner. "Being nominated for President is the highest honor a political party can bestow on one of its members," Phillies said, "and I will do my utmost to show that New Hampshire's trust is not misplaced."
Speaking of the National Libertarian Party, which separately nominated a different Presidential candidate, Phillies said: "The New Hampshire Party has been collecting signatures for me since Spring 2007. Unfortunately, the people of New Hampshire in their wisdom do not permit political parties to replace their Presidential candidate. I was chosen as the candidate, and so I must remain."
The Libertarian Party is now collecting signatures to put Bob Barr on the ballot; according to most readings of the law, Barr and Phillies could both appear on the ballot as Libertarian presidential candidates. "The acceptance papers had to be filed in a ten day window in early June," Phillies told me over e-mail. "Waiting to see if Barr could get on the ballot before filing was not an option."
However, Phillies is actively trying to take his name off the ballot in Massachusetts, his home state; the ACLU is representing the LP in its effort to do just that. "I am the in-state champion of that effort," he told me. "I was the one who contacted the Secretary of the Commonwealth in the first place, the one who advised the ACLU and National that substitution was not being allowed, and the one who asked the ACLU if they would litigate. I also raised the in-state money that is supporting part of the petitioning for any Presidential candidate."
I've called the Barr campaign and state LP to see what they're doing. This whole affair isn't too strange in the thirdpartyverse. In 2000 the Arizona LP placed L. Neil Smith on the ballot instead of Harry Browne. This year the American Independent Party of California might put Alan Keyes on the ballot instead of Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin. (The AIP is part of the CP and always affirms its national candidate.)