REGISTERED LIBERTARIANS TO CHOOSE PARTY CANDIDATESOn Saturday September 7th, during a special meeting of the Executive Committee, the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma voted to allow only registered Libertarians to select the party's candidates. All Libertarians currently registered as Independent should re-register in order to vote in the party primaries. As of today, there are three gubernatorial candidates competing in the Libertarian primary to be held on June 26, 2018 with a runoff election on August 28, 2018. Indications predict primaries necessary for other races as well. All registered voters will be able to vote for the winning Libertarian candidates during the general election, on November 6, 2018. Over the past several months, party members have been weighing the merits of both the open primary and closed primary options. Through the sponsorship of panel discussions and education events, the party has used participation in the decision making process as a positive way of engaging the community and energizing membership. Immediately after the vote, party leaders expressed a renewed commitment to advancing party objectives and continuing to take advantage of the tremendous positive momentum currently being experienced.
“Decisions like this and others are welcome indications of growth for us. Going forward we will concentrate on the recruitment of candidates and making sure Oklahomans know we’re here. These are exciting times. There is another choice when it comes to the political direction of Oklahoma’s future,” said Libertarian Party Chair, Tina KellyIn addition to the three gubernatorial candidates running as Libertarians, Rex Lawhorn, Joe Maldonado and Chris Powell, there are eight candidates running in down ticket races. Included in that number is Traci Baker, a Libertarian and the youngest candidate to run for a non-partisan Norman City Council seat. The party is excited by this initial interest and expects many more candidates to declare before the arrival of the 2018 filing dates. The party urges anyone interested in learning more or running for an office to contact them via their website OKLP.org.
* * * * *Blogger's note: the OKLP had an 'open' primary last year, allowing registered Independents to vote as well as registered Libertarians. They were the only party to have a statewide primary, as two Libertarians filed to run against incumbent U.S. Senator James Lankford (R). They did so in a recruitment/growth bid for the newly-recognized party, with one candidate (Robert Murphy) endorsing the other (Dax Ewbank) as they felt Ewbank, a 2014 GOP gubernatorial candidate, would have a better shot due to having been on a statewide ballot before. However, Murphy ended handily defeating Ewbank, putting the "wrong" candidate in as nominee, in large part because more Independents voted in the OKLP primary than Libertarians. This seems to have prompted the OKLP's decision to close their primary. Chris Powell, the sole Libertarian candidate for county office in 2016, argued earlier this year against closing the OKLP primary in a post here. Source post