Getting a jump on Democrats descending on Denver in August, the Libertarian Party held its presidential convention in the mile-high city this weekend and on Sunday nominated Bob Barr to go up against the major party candidates in the November presidential election.
The former Georgia Republican representative was chosen during the sixth round of voting at the Libertarian National Convention, which lasts until Monday.
Barr was selected among eight candidates vying for the nomination, including former Alaska senator and Democratic Party candidate Mike Gravel. Libertarian Party spokesman Andrew Davis said nominating speeches began at 9:30 a.m. local time and voting continued — as was expected — through the middle of the afternoon.
“Barr has been very active in the Libertarian Party since he joined in 2006,” Davis said of the nomination. “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone as active” as Barr in going to state Libertarian Party conventions, speaking for other candidates running for office and other activities on behalf of the party.
Davis added that “the prestige of being a former congressman really put (Barr) a step above everybody else.”
The 652 Libertarian Party delegates who attended the convention chose Wayne Allyn Root as Barr’s running mate. Davis said the vice presidential candidate is also elected through a popular vote, and after Barr won the nomination, he put his support behind Root to be his running mate.
In his victory speech after winning the nomination, Barr said he is certain the Barr-Root ticket will be the strongest in the 37-year Libertarian Party history. The LP had its greatest success in 1980, when Ed Clark ran for president and won just over 1 percent of the popular vote.
“I want everybody to remember that we only have 163 days to win this election. We cannot waste one single day,” he said. “I’m a competitor and I’m in this to win. I do not view the role of the Libertarian Party to be a spoiler and I certainly have no intention of being a spoiler.”
Davis told FOXNews.com that the party’s “message is simple: no more business as usual in Washington. We’re going to stop the government from spending so much money.” He added that individual liberty and serving Americans by changing the two-party status quo are priorities for the party.
Davis said when party operatives return to Washington, D.C., after the convention ends, it “will work closely with his campaign to create some fusion,” including getting together on message and money. One of its goals will to make sure that Barr is on the ballot in all 50 states. He’s currently excluded in West Virginia and Oklahoma. Barr said he also expects to be invited to the national political debates by qualifying with poll support of 15 percent or more of registered voters.
The loss by Gravel also marked the end of a political career that saw him eliminated from Democratic debates for failure to meet the fundraising or polling thresholds. He said the Democratic Party no longer represented his values because it continues to sustain the Iraq war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism.
“I just ended my political career,” he said. “From 15 years old to now, my political career is over, and it’s no big deal. I’m a writer, I’m a lecturer, I’m going to push the issues of freedom and liberty. I’m going to push those issues until the day I die.”
He added that the party also welcomes supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who ran for president on the Libertarian ticket in 1988 and received a “few write-in votes” during Sunday’s balloting. Paul and Barr also served together in Congress.
“We’d like to see Paul’s followers, all the people of the revolution, come over to the Libertarian Party because we really feel it’s the best place — they’re not going to find a better home.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.