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Libertarian Party chooses fmr. Democrat as presidential nominee

Ohio elections officials have been directed by Secretary of State Jon Husted to resume purging voting rolls of inactive voters after a moratorium of several months. (Lisa DeJong/
May 29, 2024

The Libertarian Party has selected Chase Oliver to lead their presidential ticket after a contentious convention that saw raucous appearances by prospective Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The nominating process pitted Oliver, a member of the party’s self-styled “Classical Liberal” caucus against a variety of other candidates in seven rounds of voting over eight hours. The second to last nominating vote pitted Oliver against candidate Michael Rectenwald, a member of the “Mises Caucus” which aims to emulate the teachings of Austrian economist Ludwig Von Mises and grassroots 2008 and 2012 Ron Paul Republican presidential campaigns.

While Rectenwald had won the first five rounds of voting, Oliver narrowly beat the Mises Caucus candidate in the sixth round of voting. Reason Magazine reported Oliver closed out the nominating process with about 60 percent support in the seventh round of voting, as delegates were tasked to pick between Oliver and “none of the above.”

Oliver is openly gay and a former Democrat. He said in a 2022 Twitter post that he soured on the Democratic Party after Barack Obama campaigned on ending wars but “didn’t and got a peace prize anyway.”

“Remind [Obama] of his failed promises and the thousands of dead innocents from his drone bombings,” Oliver’s 2022 tweet reads. “He’s why I left the Democrats to find an antiwar party.”

Following his win at the nominating convention, some of Oliver’s previous comments about child-oriented drag-queen events and gender transitioning resurfaced.

In a July 2023 interview with libertarian podcaster Austin Peterson, Oliver avoided definitively stating he would oppose nudity at LGBT pride events with children, claiming that “it happens at every Mardi Gras” and “there’s public nudity in a lot of places.”

READ MORE: Video: Trump urges Libertarians to support his campaign, offers major promise

“It’s not about nudity, it’s about sexuality. If you’re trying to push your sexuality onto kids via nudity via that, that is wrong,” he said.

Later in the same interview, Peterson asked Oliver whether the government should prevent biological males from competing in female sporting categories. Oliver said individual leagues could set their own standards, without the government dictating those terms. Oliver said he also does not have a personal opinion on biological males competing in female sporting categories.

“I probably can see some inherent unfairness there but I don’t study that stuff, I don’t pay attention to sports,” he said.

On his IStandWith profile, Oliver has said he opposes gender transition surgeries for minors but not puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

Oliver’s win at the Libertarian Party convention was not well received within all corners of the party. He attempted to bridge the divide in his acceptance speech on Sunday, stating, “I am extending my hand; take it and be a partner with me in liberty.”

Despite Oliver’s efforts at rapprochement, several prominent Libertarians continued to signify their distaste for his brand of libertarianism.

On Monday, the Pennsylvania chapter of the Mises Caucus thanked delegates who preferred “none of the above” over Oliver in the final round of the nominating process.

Comedian and political commentator Dave Smith, who has associated closely with the Mises Caucus, also said on Monday that he congratulated Oliver but cannot support him in the 2024 election because he “doesn’t represent me and my camp or the things we stand for.”

As Trump addressed the Libertarian voters on Saturday, he was met with a mix of cheers and boos as he made his pitch to win them over, including with offers to put Libertarians in his cabinet and take their input on pardons and commutations.

Smith suggested Oliver’s win at the Libertarian Party nominating convention will ultimately be to Trump’s benefit in the 2024 general election, driving disaffected party members to the Republican candidate.