Revised for 2012...
So, you're a Libertarian Candidate, and you want a big donation from me. Sure! I have $1,000 burning a hole in my pocket. You can claim it -- all of it.
But it isn't "free". You'll need to have some ducks in a row. Here are my requirements:
1) You must have a written campaign platform with no substantial deviations from the LP platform or with Libertarian principles.
If you're in favor of any new tax, or some form of gun control, or
interfering with people trying to move from one place to another, or
interfering with the right of association, or more government
enforcement related to this or that victimless 'crime', well, I can
donate to a bunch of Democrats and Republicans if those things
interested me. Libertarianism is about *abolitionism*.
2) You should have a reasonably detailed campaign plan.
I will want a copy. While each campaign should have some flexibility
in the specifics discussed in its submission, I would expect to see the
(a) A statement specifying the personal financial commitment you will make to your campaign.
A description of the manpower resources committed to the campaign. In
particular, the description should included a list of key campaign personnel, along with brief descriptions of their previous campaign experience.
(i) I am not disposed to provide resources to any campaign that does
not have both a campaign manager and a treasurer who knows something
about campaign finance reporting requirements.
The candidate should serve neither as his own campaign manager nor as
his own treasurer, except in unusual circumstances.
(c) A biography of the candidate.
Assessment of whether there is a reasonable chance the candidate will
not be able to complete the campaign. (For example, if the candidate
has been informed of a possible change in job status, such as being
transferred to a different state, this should be disclosed.)
A description of anticipated fundraising sources and activities, along
with information about pledges from prospective donors. (As in Item 3
above, information about prospective donors will be treated with
discretion. To the extent that such information is included in LPVa or
local party files, it may be appropriate to redact names from such
(f) A description of campaign strategy
(e.g., what issues will the campaign emphasize) and a proposed timeline
for campaign activities. This description should include information
such as anticipated number of votes needed to win, as well as a basic
analysis of the voting patterns of the district. (For example, assuming
previous data exist, what percentage of voters in the district vote
Democrat, vote Republican, vote Libertarian, etc.)
A description of campaign goals and performance metrics. (For
example, if the candidate considers winning the election to be unlikely,
what are the alternative goals of the campaign? Obtaining at least X
number of votes? Causing the incumbent to be defeated? Winning the
candidate's home precinct?) Personally, my preference is that all
candidates use their races as an opportunity to finding and recruiting
the libertarians who are already out there into becoming members,
supporters, and -- candidates for next year.
realistic. Candidates who overblow their case and generally have
absolutely unrealistic expectations aren't going to get *my* money. So
many times, I've listened to LP candidates who swear that theirs is a
winnable campaign. The fact that they are out-funded and
out-volunteered by a factor of 5, 50, or 500 to 1 doesn't seem to faze
them. If you think you're going to win, you better have some solid
polling results that agree with you.
3) You must have
at least the basics assembled of a campaign: a) a website that gives
some sort of candidate/campaign overview as well as several
high-resolution, media-quality photographs ready for download by media
outlets; 2) a basic campaign flyer and yard sign, both with
complementary designs to project a consistent image; and items
associated with the campaign plan (for instance, if you have a
treasurer, you should already have a bank account in the name of the
4) You must have reasonable credit history.
Repeated personal bankruptcies, well... if you can't stay within
budget, you should be a Republican or Democrat.
must have a clean criminal history. I may make an exception for
victimless crime convictions, but expect full disclosure.
You must have a reasonably clean driving record. If you've had three
DUI's and been at-fault in more than one or two accidents, well, cowboy,
it's time to get yourself a bicycle.
7) You must have a clean civil history. If you have made your fortune like John Edwards
did, by filing lawsuits against innocents, well, you're not my
candidate. Conversely, if you've been sued six or seven times, sounds
to me like you need to find a safer line of work.
There must be a disclosure statement, concerning any potentially
embarrassing or controversial aspects of the your background. This
statement should include all information in items 4, 5, 6, and 7 above;
and you must make it available for review by the members who attend your
district nominating meeting, as well as the city or county committee
and the State Central Committee, PRIOR TO any approval by any of these
committees. The state and local party committees will treat these
disclosures with discretion; such statements should not be available for
9) You must have already been certified as "on the ballot".
10) You must have been formally endorsed/nominated as the official LP candidate during a meeting of the members WHO RESIDE WITHIN YOUR ELECTION DISTRICT;
*and* you must also be formally approved by the county or city
Libertarian committee in which you live. No exceptions. This is how
the major-party candidates are nominated, and we can do the same thing.
10) All of the required financial reports must be up-to-date. I'll want copies.
"Open Secrets" -- Campaign finance reports should be accessible online
on your campaign website; or if it can be linked to VaPAP or the SBOE
website, that's fine as long as there is a prominent, non-hidden menu
link to that page on your site.
12) You must openly
identify yourself as a Libertarian candidate in all campaign
appearances, on your literature, on your website, in your media
releases, and the like. I will not donate to anyone who has a history
of being involved in the Republican Liberty Caucus, the Democratic
Freedom Caucus, or who accepts the endorsement of any other political
party. Call it being a partisan hack all you want, but I do not intend
to give anyone money for sending a mixed message about the abolitionist
basis of the libertarian philosophy and the political party that
13) You must *demonstrate* a thorough understanding of the necessity of recruiting new members into the LP; which means:
- submit all campaign contacts to the LP for followup on a timely basis -- preferably daily
- providing PROMINENT and EASY access to visitors to the campaign website to ask for more information about the LP
14) My offer is available to two types of campaigns: a) winnable races; or 2) recruitment campaigns.
If you think you have a realistic shot at winning, and want my $1,000, then provide some evidence that you have already raised serious money on your own. I've been in the LP since 1980, and
for all of that 30 years, I've been sent hundreds of letters from
Libertarian candidates who claimed they were in a race they could win,
providing various reasons why the LP or LP members should give them
thousands of dollars. Most of those candidates, however, hadn't even
bothered raising a few hundred
from friends and family. The results were typically poor.
money" means enough to have a real shot at winning the election. The LP candidate seeking election should work towards funding superiority. He should raise and spend as much or more than the COLLECTIVE opposition. Yes, that means if you're in a 3-way race, your fundraising must exceed the funds available to BOTH of your opponents. We're the only guys advocating freedom -- the other guys are BOTH
advertising socialism. Unless you have enough dosh that you can drown
*them* out, you're not going to win. Fundraising should be at the heart
of any serious campaign. If you don't raise money, you can't
advertise. If you don't advertise, you aren't going to get elected.
And if you can't generate monetary support, you won't be able to recruit the volunteers you will need, either.
you can't raise enough to give the majors a serious run for their
money, then you're running for the wrong office. Try running for County
Board of Supervisors, or Town Council, instead.
It's fairly easy to raise at least a few thousand dollars just from friends and business associates. See:
Additional campaign and party-building tips are available:
Let's put it this way: If the
office you're running for typically costs the winning candidate $100,000
and requires the help of several dozen volunteers, and you can't or
won't raise more than that and field a larger team of volunteers, YOU'RE
NOT GOING TO WIN.
if you want to stay in the race you're in, and you are not going to
win, there is still a way to make it a productive campaign: use your
campaign towards signing up more LP members to build the cadre for next
I am NOT opposed to "educational" campaigns.
All LP candidates should remember one thing: IT AIN'T ABOUT YOU.
It's about building a libertarian society, where you are left free to live your own life without meddling by government.
unless you have a real shot at winning, your campaign should have as
its main aim recruiting new libertarians so your support base is larger
in the next election (and so we have a larger pool of members from which we can nominate a larger number of candidates).
If you're running in a race you don't have the resources to win, I may well still donate, and donate substantially, if you show me that you're good at getting new libertarians recruited into the Party. (And you won't be able to do that if you propose mild, "tinkering around the edges" reforms like "reducing" taxes instead of abolishing them.)
Yes, even if you know you won't win your race Mayor of ___________, if instead you can sign up 50 new Libertarians, I'll donate $1,000 to your campaign -- absolutely!
You must have demonstrated some ability to find volunteers for your
campaign. This is almost as important as fundraising. The majors send
their volunteers out to knock on doors for them, to manage their
campaigns' "back office", and so on.
16) You must
provide in a timely manner a reasonably detailed post-election report to
all of your donors, to the LPVA State Central Committee, and to your
local endorsing committee.
17) Not a formal
requirement for my $1,000, but I'd appreciate provide copies of campaign
material (e.g., signs, posters, flyers, bumperstickers, fundraising
letters, etc.) and news coverage (e.g., newspaper clippings, video and
audiotapes of media interviews) for LPVa archival purposes.
If you accept money from me, but you decide to withdraw from your race
for any reason other than a medical condition or involuntary transfer
by your employer, you shall agree to refund my donation(s) first, before
any loans are paid and before any other donors are reimbursed. In the
event you have no campaign funds left, you must agree to reimburse me
and other donors using your own personal funds.
19) All monies left after campaign obligations have been settled shall be donated to LPVA.
my checklist. It's not short, and there are hoops to jump through.
But there is $1,000 waiting at the end of the hoops. And, not a single
one of my requirements is any less than a major-party candidate would be
required to do for them. This is common-sense, party-building stuff.
To make your case, write me at Freedom (/at/) LPVA.com (Remove the obvious spamtrap elements).
Here are a few resources you might find useful:
Campaign Planning Manual from the Libertarian Party of Indiana
Political Resource Library, from PoliticalResources.com
Heavy Marketing is not Yet the Answer
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