Maybe the GOP is Worried About Barr


A good sign of whether a third party campaign has any gas in the tank is whether one of the big parties is challenging its ballot access. In 2004 the Democrats fretted a bit about Ralph Nader, so they tied him down with lawsuits. In 2008 they've recognized him for the less-funny Pat Paulsen (a terrifying thought!) that he is, so they're ignoring him.

The Pennsylvania GOP isn't ignoring Bob Barr.

Cumberland County GOP chairman Victor Stabile, an attorney who filed suit to remove Barr, said he's fine with third-party candidates, but is crying foul because Libertarians listed Rochelle Etzel of Clarion County as their prospective presidential candidate when gathering petition signatures to put a nominee on the ballot.

Stabile acknowledged that state law allows parties to replace a candidate who withdraws…

Oh. Okay, then.

…but said Pennsylvania Libertarians never intended for Etzel to run.

Well, yes. In order to make the ballot, Libertarians couldn't wait until their Memorial Day weekend convention.

"The problem we have is that, as we understand it, and based upon the evidence that I've seen is that they circulated these petitions with Etzel's name, never intending her to be the candidate," Stabile said. "They went to the convention, nominated Barr, and then she withdrew."

Stabile said his court filing cites internal Libertarian e-mail indicating that they intended to nominate Barr, not Etzel, and likened it to voter fraud."We have a horrible problem in this state with voter fraud," Stabile said. "This is just another variety of that. You can't go around and, under false pretenses, saying 'Hey, sign this petition.'"

And the phrase "voter fraud" loses all meaning. Anyone who signed a petition to get a non-entity on the ballot in Pennsylvania as a Libertarian would be fine with an actual politician filling out the ballot line. Anyway, I'd think twice about filing a frivolous lawsuit against a third party candidate in Pennsylvania, given how that's worked out in the past.