Libertarian Party

Chase Oliver Is the Libertarian Party's Presidential Pick

After a highly contentious convention, Oliver won the nomination on the seventh ballot.


Two years ago, Chase Oliver burst onto the Libertarian political scene by forcing a runoff in the Georgia Senate election—a result that ultimately determined the majority in the U.S. Senate.

Now he can aim to leave an even bigger mark.

Oliver won the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination in dramatic fashion Sunday night, prevailing on the seventh round of balloting after running second in each of the first five rounds. Oliver received 60.6 percent of the vote in the final round, finally clearing the 50 percent threshold for victory against "none of the above," the only alternative that remained on the ballot after Oliver narrowly won a sixth-round showdown with professor-turned-podcaster Michael Rectenwald, who had led the count in each of the first five rounds.

"I am extending my hand. Take it, and be a partner with me in liberty," Oliver said in his victory speech, making a pitch to his opponents within the Libertarian Party, which has been riven for the past two years by a deep divide over tactics and principles.

It was a fitting end to a tempestuous convention that saw Libertarian delegates loudly boo former President Donald Trump during an unorthodox appearance by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Oliver, a 38-year-old gay man from Atlanta with socially tolerant and pro-immigration views, delivered a passionate response after Trump's speech to the convention on Saturday. Now, he will get to spend the next six months competing directly against Trump and President Joe Biden, two men more than twice his age. After winning on Sunday, Oliver promised to keep pressing a message that neither major-party candidate is likely to offer.

"I will continue to bring a hopeful and positive message of liberty to both those who consider themselves libertarian and those who don't know they are libertarian yet," Oliver promised in his victory speech.

"Chase is a hard worker, a gifted messenger, and very much not an octogenarian," says Joe Bishop-Henchman, a former Libertarian Party chairman who was not a delegate to this year's convention.

Oliver's victory on Sunday night was a blow to the Mises Caucus, the right-leaning faction that took control of the Libertarian Party at the 2022 convention and that had orchestrated Trump's appearance at the convention. That faction's preferred candidate was Rectenwald.

Source: Libertarian National Convention (Chart by Eric Boehm)
(Source: Libertarian National Convention (Chart by Eric Boehm))

For much of Sunday's lengthy balloting process, it seemed like Rectenwald might narrowly prevail—even after giving a rambling, somewhat incoherent speech on Saturday night, after which he admitted that he'd been high on an edible.

No candidate got close to an outright majority in the first round of balloting, completed in mid-afternoon on Sunday. Rectenwald led the field with 28.2 percent, followed by Oliver with 19.7 percent and Mike ter Maat with 15.3 percent. There were 11 votes for "none of the above" in the first round, along with write-in votes for Trump (6) and Stormy Daniels (1), among others. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running as an independent and made a last-minute bid for the Libertarian nomination as well, received slightly more than 2 percent of the vote and was eliminated.

The second, third, and fourth rounds of voting whittled down the field but were hardly decisive. Rectenwald maintained his lead over Oliver, who pulled away from the rest of the contenders as Rectenwald's clear rival.

It was the fifth round that provided the first indication of the final outcome. With tech entrepreneur Lars Mapstead eliminated, Oliver and ter Maat swept up dozens of additional votes while Rectenwald's momentum faltered.

After being eliminated in that round, ter Maat extended an endorsement to Oliver from the convention floor—in exchange for being Oliver's vice-presidential choice. (The Libertarian Party selects the two positions in separate votes.* But the winner of the presidential nomination typically has significant influence in the outcome of the second contest.)

After ter Maat announced his endorsement of Oliver, members of the Mises Caucus said they had offered ter Maat the vice-presidential gig as well. The competing offers complicated the final round of voting, but ter Maat's embrace of Oliver seemed to tilt the outcome.

There was widespread media attention in recent weeks fixated on whether the Libertarian Party would nominate a prominent non-Libertarian like Kennedy or even Trump.

Neither got anywhere close to winning. Kennedy was eliminated after the first round of balloting, while Trump did not even qualify for the first round and received just six write-in votes.

It was at times a slog, but Oliver—who has already campaigned in all 50 states—is the Libertarian Party's standard-bearer for 2024.

*CORRECTION: This post was updated to clarify the process for selecting presidential and vice presidential nominees.