2012 Libertarian party nominee Gary Johnson, who made it on the ballot in 48 states, attended the Libertarian Party of Florida’s convention this past weekend.
By Jacob Engels
Libertarians gathered from across the state this past weekend in New Port Richey to elect new statewide officers, and formulate plans for the 2016 election cycle. It was held at a Quality Inn Suites just outside of the historic downtown district.
The event, which lasted three days starting on Friday, featured over a dozen workshops and guest speakers who spoke on issues ranging from GOTV efforts to promoting the party ideals on digital platforms.
Florida Libertarians elected 2014 gubernatorial nominee Adrian Wyllie as their new Chairman. Wyllie almost garnered 250,000 votes during his 2014 bid… an historic number.
Highlights of the convention included a banquet dinner with former Republican-turned-Libertarian Governor New Mexico and an after party organized by former Nixon adviser Roger Stone. Stone, who had spent 40 years as a GOP operative and consultant, bolted the Republican Party in 2012 and advised Johnson during his Presidential bid.
“I have always been for liberty and keeping the government out of our bedroom and lives. Getting Governor Johnson on the ballot in 48 states and grabbing almost 5 million votes was momentous for the liberty movement,” said Stone.
Stone and Johnson conversing during the party hosted by the Stone for Senate exploratory committee.
Mr. Stone is contemplating a run for the United States Senate as a Libertarian, and hosted the after party through his exploratory committee. The party was well attended and featured an open bar, where attendees had to present a Nixonian “Stone’s The One” sticker to the bartender.
Stone himself was donning a black eye patch, and informed everyone that he was recovering from eye surgery he underwent as a result of an injury during a boxing match. Following a short introduction from Gary Johnson, who noted that Stone fought “tooth and nail” to get him on the ballot and debate stage, Roger laid roots at the front of the room and spoke for about ten minutes.
David Leavitt, Chairman of the Seminole County Libertarian Party, said that this is an exciting time to be a Libertarian. Leavitt runs a successful computer and tech repair company called Refresh Computers.
“The ideas of the liberty movement are getting due credit as we see gross overreach from the NSA and other governmental agencies. We need candidates to run at every level, and exciting ones at that. I was impressed with how the crowd responded to Roger.”
Broward Libertarian Alex Vidal DJ’d the event, and his playlist featured several classic and contemporary hits like “Freedom” by Jimi Hendrix and “American Idiot” by Green Day. Governor Johnson ran the tables throughout the night, not losing once from what I saw. I’m pretty sure I saw Meat Loaf working the room towards the end of the night, but maybe not.
Gary Johnson; former Governor, presidential candidate and pool shark. Photos by Jason Jack Underwood.
While Stone, now a NYT best-seller, following the release of his 2014 book on the JFK assassination, acknowledged that he would likely not win the election… he said that he planned to run an entertaining and exciting campaign.
“We have to draw attention to the ideals and gospel of the Libertarian Party. My campaign would be reminiscent of William Buckley’s campaign for Mayor of NYC.”
Stone is expected to announce a final decision in the coming months, and some expect that Gary Johnson might run for president under the Libertarian Party banner again in 2016. You can watch Stone’s full speech below.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org