On Saturday, February 8th, the Libertarian Party of Virginia held their annual convention just east of Richmond, Virginia at the Marriott Hotel in Sandston. The main purposes of this gathering were to nominate a candidate for the November U.S. Senate race, elect new individuals to lead the state party, and conduct business of the state central committee. In the back of the convention hall, the Virginia Citizens Defense League maintained a booth.
The night before, a multitude of Libertarians gathered at the hotel to socialize and greet old friends and new.
Attendance to this convention was a little more than eighty, about double the size of last year’s meeting. Surprisingly, despite this up tick in attendance, there were merely three attendees from the Harrisonburg area, my corner of the state.
The only candidate to seek the Libertarian nomination for Senate was Robert Sarvis, the party’s 2013 candidate for governor. Unlike some political groups, such as the Republican Party of Virginia, delegates could choose to vote “none of the above” thus forgoing a candidate for the election. Speakers spoke in favor of and against Mr. Sarvis and the vote that followed was done via voice so the precise count is unknown. Nevertheless, Robert Sarvis easily captured a sizable majority of the crowd to become the Libertarian nominee.
Libertarian Party Chairman Chuck Moulton did not seek reelection to his position and so Bill Redpath, the 2001 Libertarian candidate for governor, was elected in his stead. All other party leaders were reelected without opposition. Dr. Jim Lark is the Vice Chairman of the LPVA, Marc Montoni is the Secretary, and James Curtis is the Treasurer.
Although not voted upon at the convention, several candidates announced their intent to run as Libertarians for the House of Representatives. Ideally, the party is seeking to offer contenders in all eleven congressional districts, though presently it sits at a little less than half.
All in all, attendees to the 2014 convention seemed to enjoy themselves and the party seems to have swelled in membership, some joining shortly before the convention itself.
Was Sarvis’ record-setting 6.5% of the vote in 2013 a fluke or a sign of an emergence of an actual third party in Virginia? How will Mr. Sarvis and the Libertarian slate fair in November? It should be interesting to watch.