By Tracy X Miguel
A nationally known political consultant with ties to presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan spoke Saturday to Florida Libertarians about how grow their fledgling political party and win elections.
Roger Stone, a former Republican turned Libertarian, spoke during the Libertarian Party of Florida’s annual conference at the Hilton Naples. The three-day convention which concludes Sunday featured about a half-dozen speakers. Organizers expected more than 250 attendees over the weekend.
For more than an hour, Stone gave tips on effective fundraising and campaigning, including using robocalls, traditional mail and email. He recommended that candidates strategically choose communication mediums and not spend campaign money in too many areas.
“I urge you to use one communication medium right,” he told the more than 60 attendees at Saturday’s “Lunch & Learn.”
Stone advised candidates not to spread their campaign resources too thin, but to instead narrow the length and focus of their campaigns depending on the cash they have available. He talked about the importance of keeping a campaign message simple, bold and interesting, and noted the effectiveness of a personal touch in politics — door-to-door campaigning and visits to malls — particularly in local races.
“It’s crucial to have that human element in your campaign,” Stone said.
According to the Florida Division of Elections, there were just shy of 20,000 registered Libertarians in the state as of October, compared to about 4.8 million Democrats and about 4.2 million Republicans. But Jared Grifoni, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Collier County, said the party is seeing a lot of interest and growth.
“People are disappointed with the two major parties and are looking for another option, an option that protects the Constitution and protects individual rights,” Grifoni said. “We find both Republicans and Democrats wanting to come aboard because the message of liberty is a unifying message.”
For the party to continue growing, Grifoni said they need to elect Libertarian candidates in the 2014 elections.
They plan to run state party chair Adrian Wyllie for governor in 2014. And Marco Island resident Ray Netherwood announced he plans to challenge U.S. Congressman Trey Radel for his District 19 seat.
“We are here to lead,” Stone said. “We are here to forge a new direction.”
© 2013 Naples Daily News.