Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Libertarian Party Has A State Legislator, But Do They Want Him?

Originally published in Red Racing Horses.

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From the Libertarian Republican:
America's Third Largest Political Party has its 9th State Legislator in the Party's 40 year history.

Rhode Island State Rep. Daniel Gordon agreed to join the Libertarian Party today. He informed Libertarian Party National Director Wes Benedict by phone at approximately 3:00 pm est. that he would be sending in his $25.00 membership dues immediately.

Gordon indicated to Libertarian Republican in an exclusive phone interview early this morning, that he was "much more inclined to join the Libertarian Party," than the Democrats. He also told LR that he would welcome an invite to join the Party from LP leaders, and was anxious to meet with Rhode Island LP members as soon as it would be possible...
Gordon told LR that he was a 2008 local volunteer for Ron Paul's presidential campaign. He also described himself as a dedicated "Constitutionalist.".
A little bit of background on what prompted the party switch. First there was the whole being a fugitive from Massachusetts:
State Rep. Daniel P. Gordon, a Portsmouth Republican, is at the state prison awaiting arraignment Monday, following his arrest by Rhode Island State Police on charges of driving on a suspended license and failing to appear in a Massachusetts court to face an earlier charge of eluding a police officer... O'Donnell said Gordon was initially charged with driving on a suspended license, given a court date and released on Wednesday, after he came into the Portsmouth barracks that day to file a "cyberstalking'' complaint, centering on allegations that "people were saying things about him on blogs.''
Before that, the Rhode Island House GOP expelled him from its caucus.
House Minority Leader Brian Newberry confirmed Wednesday that 6 of the 10 House Republicans voted Tuesday afternoon to expel Gordon, at a caucus held at the State House. The meeting was held an hour before the full House and Senate gathered, for the first time in months, for a briefing on the state's looming pension-crisis...
In a September 2 warning letter, Newberry said: "Many, many of the comments I have seen have crossed the line into personal invective and attack ... It is simply not permissible for you to launch personal attacks against your colleagues. Disagreement is fine and no one is required to like any other member of the House on a personal level.''
But "none of that excuses your conduct or lack of decorum. Your actions are unbecoming of someone holding your office. If they do not cease immediately, I will have no choice but to take the necessary steps to impose appropriate sanctions up to and including possible expulsion as a member of the House Republican Caucus.''
Gordon is no stranger to criticism; he was previously attacked for speculating in an interview to cut off state aid to a school that founded a Gay-Straight Alliance. He was elected to his first term in 2010 in a very competitive race, defeating his Democratic opponent by 47 votes.

The Libertarian Party has made some significant gains in certain states. Its state affiliate in Indiana has shown an ability to recruit candidates and consistently register in polls, as have the North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia Libertarian Parties. However, adopting a legislator in this manner seems toxic for any serious political party.

The Greens did something similar with former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, last seen defending Muammar Gaddafi's regime. The Greens' reward for nominating a former Congresswoman for President? 0.12% of the popular vote in the 2008 election.

The lesson: recruiting elected officials to run for you can be a good thing, but not at any cost.

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