Weeks Before Convention, No Favorite for LP Ticket’s Second Spot

Tucker Carlson, libertarian-leaning pundit, former CNN host and the founder of The Daily Caller.

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%.


  1. Jackie Anderson says:

    Judge Napolitano would be the perfect Vice President for Ron Paul!! As far as I’m concerned there isn’t anyone else qualified for either position!! Love you guys!! Am praying for this to happen for our country!!

  2. I think Andrew Napolitano would make a better AG than VP, as he can clean up the trail of destruction Holder has left in his wake. Goldwater Jr. I think would be a better choice for VP, though I must admit I am not familiar with Weld or Howell, so I can’t say for sure if those two might be better, but if Goldwater Jr. can bring the Paul crowd behind Johnson, then strategically that might be prudent. I do think Carlson would be good in a cabinet position where his view points could best serve the American public, as in detangling the bureaucracy of some aspect of the government. Stossel should be tapped for Secretary of Commerce as he knows and investigates all the damage the government, in a commerce capacity, does to hurt business and choice.

    Now, if Johnson is ever going to have a chance to get on the debate stage and make his positions known to the public, as 72% (or was it 74%) don’t know who Johnson is or what he stands for in the latest PPP poll, then we have to get Johnson polling at 15%. But how can get get to 15% if polling organizations aren’t including him in their polls? Why isn’t Gallup, Rasmussen, CNN, CNBC, ABC, CBS and FOX including Johnson in their presidential polls? If Johnson has poll 9% and 7% in the latest PPP poll, why isn’t he being included in these other polls?

    Can you do a follow up article into why these pollsters haven’t included Johnson?

  3. A pro-lifer as a running mate would be a disaster. Gary Johnson is well poised to take as many if not more votes from the Democrats as he is from the Republicans precisely because he is not a social conservative. For this reason he appeals to gays, women, immigrants, and educated “liberals” such as software engineers who want a fiscal conservative but who vote liberal because of social issues. A social conservative as a running mate would take this huge constituency back to Obama.

  4. I’m rather enamored with the notion of Judge Napolitano on the Supreme Court. Just the idea has me rubbing my hands together.

    To Elizabeth – I’m afraid that they won’t include Gov. Johnson in the polls until we harass them into it. Just like we had to do to get Ron Paul mentioned. The media will always see true proponents of small government as ‘outsiders.’

  5. I agree with Elizabeth, Napolitano for AG and Goldwater for VP.

    That being said, what do people think about Dennis Kucinich? Some Paulites really like him and he has interesting crossover on the left.

    Maybe his L is too small to be recruited as the party’s VP.

  6. RabidLibertarian says:

    Gaylon Kent, who is running for Congress from Colorado’s 3rd district, will also run.


  7. Pingback: The Most Attractive VP Candidates for the Libertarian Party According to Cassidy | Independent Political Report

  8. When Weld received the LPNY nomination for Govenor in 2006, we specifically asked him if he would stay in as LP candidate if the Repubs. did not nominate him and he promised to do so no matter what happened with the R’s.

    Of course that was a lie. He’s a Republican, not a libertarian and certainly not a Libertarian.

  9. This is a sham. Let`s say GJ is the nominee for Lee Wrights to not even get consideration is a farce. He is the only real Libertarian here (not) on your list. Weak at best. The Republicanization of the LP has to stop or the party`s message will be lost for sure.

    • Austin Cassidy says:

      Lee Wrights is a better option than Carla Howell? Monds? Sink-Burris?

      C’mon. Wrights is a very nice guy. I like him. He should run for local or state office.

      But it’s time for the party to get serious.

  10. Pingback: The Most Attractive VP Candidates for the Libertarian Party According to Cassidy | ThirdPartyPolitics.us

  11. Barring the entrance of a big name (ex-Congressman, CEO, news anchor, etc.) into the VP race, I’d like to see Governor Johnson choose a current or past elected Libertarian. I think the best would be former county commissioner in Tennessee Heather Scott. Let Johnson handle the major media opportunities and hit the big college campuses while Scott goes around stumping with our local candidates. When the media says “you can’t win!” Johnson can point to Scott and say, “well, maybe not the Presidency, but we can use this campaign to rally people and get them out to make change in their hometowns like she did.” This would also make sure there is a more partisan L on the ticket without having to create room for Lee Wrights.

  12. Gary Johnson needs a running mate with the wealth to finance a national campaign and the celeberty status to demand public recognition…the person doesnt have to be an ideological pure classical liberal…they can be a moderate, the job of the VP is to oversee congress, what we need is someone who is good on the campaign trail and the debate podium…

    Gary Johnson named Drew Carey and Jennifer Aniston, im not really crazy about either, although they do have money and celeberty status…i was a fan of someone like Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell or Peter Schiff….but they would be better for cabinet positions…

    • I definitly agree that the no name politicians of the Liberterian party….the Wayne Allen Root’s and Lee Wright’s of the party need to run for local and state office, like Gary Johnson did…

      I think Gary made a mistake by not running for Senate…he would have been the star of the Republican party and could have gotten the nomination in 2016

      • Austin Cassidy says:

        I’m just not sure I could imagine a Republican nominee who is in favor of gay marriage and legal marijuana.

  13. Robert McHugh says:

    One name keeps Carla Howell off of my list: Michael Cloud.

  14. Liz Garrett says:

    Personally, I would like to see Mike Jingozian as Gary Johnson’s VP. I think Jingozian would be a good choice for Johnson. Jingozian is not only a life-long Libertarian, but he’s also a very successful entrepreneur and executive. He runs a media and advertising firm. That’s really what the LP needs. Jingozian partnered with Mike Gravel and has even been in contact with Mike Bloomberg. He knows the issues and what’s important to Libertarians and for the LP.

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