There isn’t that much suspense surrounding what will happen when delegates from around the country descend on Las Vegas in two weeks to select the Libertarian Party’s nominee for President. Former governor Gary Johnson is widely considered the overwhelming favorite, winning straw poll after straw poll and the outright endorsement of several state party affiliates.
Johnson is poised to take the Libertarian Party to the next level, polling in high single-digits nationally and potentially making his home state of New Mexico a true three-way race. What is far less clear, however, is how the other half of the Libertarian ticket will look.
In past cycles, candidates would often declare and campaign actively for the party’s vice-presidential nomination well in advance of their convention. Both of Harry Browne’s running mates came to their conventions as active candidates. In 2008, losing presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root essentially teamed up with Bob Barr to help Barr secure the nomination in exchange for the second slot on the ticket.
Surprisingly, the list of candidates who’ve stepped forward to join Johnson is pretty limited, thus far.
With that in mind, I present this list of five highly attractive options for the Libertarian Party’s VP nomination…
1. Carla Howell – The most likely candidate of my list, the Libertarian Party’s executive director has shown great skill as an organizer, activist and fundraiser. Her 2000 campaign for U.S. Senate, in which she polled over 300,000 votes or 12% in a 3-way race, is still considered one of the best examples of a Libertarian campaign that has even been run. Howell would serve Johnson and the party well, not to mention that she would add some gender balance to the LP’s ticket.
2. Tucker Carlson – The former CNN host and founder of The Daily Caller would be a phenomenal addition to the Libertarian ticket. While Johnson brings tremendous governmental experience and personal success to the pairing, Carlson would be the junior partner who could go out and woo audiences on cable television and talk radio. Carlson’s site has given Johnson’s campaign very favorable coverage and Carlson has described himself as a libertarian on numerous occasions.
3. Andrew Napolitano – The former New Jersey Superior Court Judge is a hero in libertarian circles. His Fox Business Network program was recently canceled, presumably freeing up his schedule. Like Carlson, Napolitano’s skills as a communicator would be a huge asset. Additionally, Napolitano is staunchly pro-life and might be able to help bridge the gap with Ron Paul’s legions of followers.
4. Bill Weld – The former governor of Massachusetts, Weld successfully sought the Libertarian Party’s nomination for governor of New York in 2006, running as a fusion candidate. When he was unable to also win the Republican ballot line, Weld dropped his campaign. A political independent, the former governor has largely dropped out of the political spotlight in recent years.
5. Barry Goldwater, Jr. – The former Congressman is a favorite of the Ron Paul crowd. He brings not only his famous family name, but also his own very impressive resume of public service. In 2008, when supporters created the Taxpayers Party in Louisiana to place Ron Paul on the general election ballot, their choice for his running mate was none other than Barry Goldwater, Jr.
Honorable mention: Other candidates worth at least passing consideration include… Andrew Gray, an elected Libertarian city councilman in Topeka, Kansas; John H. Monds, an African-American and the LP’s candidate for governor of Georgia in 2010 (won 4%); former Libertarian state representative Finlay Rothhaus, the current current chair of the Merrimack, NH city council; Rebecca Sink-Burris, the LP’s 2010 U.S. Senate candidate from Indiana who polled 5%.