The Eternal Return of Ron Paul
Unless the ex-candidate pulls his name off the ballot, Louisiana voters will have the chance to vote for Ron Paul in November. A group of Paul supporters have formed the Louisiana Taxpayers Party and placed a Ron Paul/Barry Goldwater, Jr. ticket in front of voters. Due to scheduling and bureaucratic mishaps related to Hurricane Gustav, Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root might not make the ballot, so for Trent Hill and his fellow LATaxpayers are running the libertarian show in Louisiana.
I quizzed Hill about the effort over e-mail.
reason: When did you start laying the groundwork for this?
Trent Hill: In Louisiana, no signatures are required to access the ballot. All that is required here in Louisiana is 9 notarized elector forms (1 from each Congressional District and 2 at-large) and a $500 filing fee. Although we asked Lew Rockwell to be the VP choice, we never really expected him to say yes, as we were quite familiar with his opposition to involvement in electoral politics. It was meant as a gesture of respect, mostly, though we certainly would have loved to have him. Considerations for Vice Presidential candidates was mostly limited to: Barry Goldwater Jr., former Governor Gary Johnson, or Chuck Baldwin. We first started to contact and fill out elector forms on Monday, August 25th. We had until September 2nd, giving us 8 short days (though Hurricane Gustav would later change this).
reason: Did you consider supporting one of the candidates who's still in the race?
Hill: Sure, we all did. Everyone involved in this effort had previously been supportive of another candidate. I personally was involved with the Chuck Baldwin for President campaign–which I still support. Chuck Baldwin is a great candidate, a friend of Ron Paul's, and had the support of the "libertarian wing" of the Constitution Party. Nothing turned me off to Baldwin, I am still very supportive of him and hope he does well here in Louisiana and nationwide. With all of that said—I think even Chuck Baldwin would vote for Ron Paul over himself.
reason: Have you had any contact with anyone in Paul's campaign?
Hill: I have specifically avoided all contact with Ron Paul. He has neither encouraged nor discouraged this idea–and I never gave him the opportunity too. Like most events sourrounding Ron Paul, this was a grassroots effort that was completely out of his control. We have recieved confirmation from several Ron Paul staffers that Ron Paul will not have his name removed from the ballot, so we are relieved to get that news. At the onset of this effort, we were fairly confident that Ron Paul would not sue to have his name removed from the ballot–we were far more concerned about the VP choice, and wether he or she might remove their name. Former Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. was asked by one of our members at the Rally for the Republic is he would accept the VP spot and he was very happy about the effort and even suggested he might come to Louisiana to do some fundraising events or rallies.
reason: Was the presidential caucus held this year unfair?
Hill: I am not one of these paranoid Ron Paul supporters who thinks we actually won the entire election, but our votes were tossed out or disposed of by the evil "Diebold Corporation". But yes, the Louisiana Caucus was extremely unfair to the Ron Paul campaign. I am located in Baton Rouge, District 6, where most of the controversy was centered. On the night of the caucus, I stayed late with the campaign officials to watch the ballot counting–amongst other things. The Republican Party of Louisiana had used an outdated voter registration list which had caused some 600-odd caucus-goers to vote "provisionally", and we wanted to be sure that those votes were counted fairly, and they were. I was a candidate for delegate in District 6 and had re-registered Republican only 3-4 days before the deadline, along with my wife. Although I was a candidate for delegate, certified by the Republican Party, I had to cast a provisional vote–as did my wife.
When I left the caucus, around midnight, I was told by our state director (Andrew Axsom) and the Southern Regional Director (Matt Chancey) that we were ahead in every district in the state. Two days later, all provisional votes had been removed and we captured only about 1/4th of the delegates.
reason: Do you want Paul or Goldwater to run in 2012?
Hill: I would like to see Ron Paul run again in 2012, but I do not think that is going to happen. He is an aging man and lightning would not likely strike again if he ran for President.
One of my main goals in putting Ron Paul/Barry Goldwater Jr. on the ballot in Louisiana is to help encourage Barry Goldwater Jr. to run for President in 2012. I believe his record on the issues, name recognition amongst Republicans, and respect amongst Ron Paul-voters would lead to an effective, inspiring, and combative run for the Republican nomination. It is my sincere wish that he will consider it.