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Saturday, November 15, 2008

The saga of the Ron Paul third party bid that never was

Ron_paulNolan Chart columnist and Ontario Libertarian Party deputy leader George Dance has provided an excellent summary of the Ron Paul third party bid that never was.

Dance documents the speculation and weak denials that Paul would run as the Libertarian Party candidate for president if he lost the Republican nomination, which was certain.

You can read his excellent and thorough treatment of the subject here, but the stories goes something like this:

Paul was asked by Republican brass to agree not to run as a third party candidate, should he lose the nomination, on the condition that he be allowed to participate in state primaries and the all-important national debates. Paul didn’t disclose these No-Third-Party agreements and allowed speculation to run rampant as to whether or not he would run as the Libertarian Party candidate for president. His campaign team may have even encouraged some of this speculation.

Some argue he didn’t disclose these agreements because he wanted to keep the media interested in his campaign for the Republican nomination and wanted to keep donations coming in from Libertarian Party members who clung to the hope that Paul would eventually be their candidate.

Paul eventually made it clear that he would not accept the Libertarian Party nomination and said “I am a Republican, and I will remain a Republican." Libertarians were naturally disappointed, but, again, at no point did Paul’s campaign disclose the No-Third-Party agreements which precluded him from running. Why?

In answer to this nagging question, Western Standard general manager Kalim Kassam suggested Paul may have been under a non-disclosure agreement at least until the November 4th vote. Here’s what Dance had to write about Kassam’s conclusion:

At this point, of course, all judgements have to be tentative. I find myself in agreement with Kalim Kassam's comments on the revelation at Canada's Western Standard:

It's not difficult to see why this information wasn't made public before the press conference at which Ron Paul made his presidential endorsements: of course the GOP would prefer it never to see the light of day, and until that point Paul could coyly respond to inquiries that he had "no plans" to mount a third party run while not completely ruling it out, keeping the media interested and the major parties on their toes....

Then again, who am I to know? Maybe the GOP also had a non-disclosure agreement which gagged the Paul campaign from talking until after the November 4th election. I wouldn't be surprised, would you?

Remember Occam’s razor: All other things being equal, the simplest explanation is the best.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on November 15, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink


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The man is a Republican; he ran on the Republican ticket. He was in all the debates so he could spread the message.

He apparently didn't want to run on the Libertarian ticket. It is a free country.

Give it a rest.

Posted by: wellsie | 2008-11-15 5:33:29 PM

Dr. Paul has answered this question himself in the NY Times. "I was running for the Republican nomination, and I would have run in the general if I had won. I had little interest in running third party due to the inherent biases against such efforts. I also signed legally binding agreements not run third party in 2008 if I failed to win the G.O.P. primary"

Posted by: paulite | 2008-11-15 6:23:49 PM

The question being asked, paulite, is why Paul did not disclose the legally binding agreements.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-11-15 6:27:54 PM

I'd guess there was a non disclosure agreement in place.

Posted by: JC | 2008-11-15 6:39:51 PM

In many states its law that if you run as a candidate for one party in the primary, you cant run as an independent, write in or candidate for another party.

Posted by: ewj | 2008-11-16 3:48:01 PM

Thank you for the mention.

@ewj: For the article, I relied on Ballot Access News as my authority on the 'sore loser' laws; there's a link to the BAN cite in my article. By it, only 4 states have them for presidential elections, with supporting case law in only one state, Texas.

Posted by: George Dance | 2008-11-16 8:35:49 PM

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