Libertarian Presidential nominee is member of FSP
|Title:||Libertarian Presidential nominee is member of FSP|
|Author:||Kate McCann (AP)|
Libertarian Presidential nominee is member of Free State Projectby Kate McCann Associated Press Writer 06/04/04
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Libertarian Presidential nominee Michael Badnarik, a Texas computer programmer, may soon became a New Hampshire Porcupine.
The 49-year-old Austin resident is a member of the Free State Project, a libertarian-movement seeking to bring 20,000 like-minded people to New Hampshire to lobby against big government and for individual freedoms.
The porcupine, the project's logo, was selected to show the public that project members can be friendly and cuddly, but prickly when stepped on, project organizers said.
Member count is at around 5,800 people.
Badnarik secured the nomination at the Libertarian Convention in Atlanta on Sunday, surprising party followers by beating out Hollywood Producer Aaron Russo and Cleveland radio personality Gary Nolan.
Badnarik has been a member of the project for three years, since shortly after the project was conceived in the form of an essay written by a Yale graduate student.
"I heard about it and throughout it was a good philosophical concept - an alternative of trying to spread the Libertarian votes over a wide range" Badnarik said from his campaign headquarters in Austin. "I like the idea of trying to concentrate votes."
Badnarik still has plans to move to New Hampshire after the 20,000 membership mark is reached. But his immediate priorities are finding additional members for the Libertarian Party and breaking the cycle of the "wasted vote."
"We want people to know we are a viable party in favor of individual rights, personal responsibility," he said. "And the best way to effect change of government is to send a message to Washington - we are not happy with the status quo."
A Massachusetts-based spokeswoman for the project attended the convention as a delegate and was impressed with Badnarik, who she has met at earlier Free State functions in New Hampshire.
Amanda Phillips described him as an anti-war constitutionalist who was very much in favor of limited government
But she doubts his candidacy will change the course of the project.
"What we're really focused on is quality of life on the state level," Phillips said. "Later on, after we can improve things at the state level, then we might approach the national level."
Badnarik acknowledged that the project can't endorse any one candidate, since they don't consider themselves a political organization. But he hopes his affiliation with it will boost his campaign in New Hampshire, which is considered a swing state in the general election.
"The publicity that the Free State Project has already gathered may lend a little synergy to my campaign in New Hampshire," he said.
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