Monday, May 31, 2004
May 31, 2004
Constitutional scholar Badnarik gets presidential nomination
ATLANTA -- In a stunning come-from-behind victory, Texas constitutional scholar Michael Badnarik has won the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination.
Badnarik, 49, of Austin, Texas, won 423 votes -- or 54 percent -- from delegates at the Libertarian Party's national convention in Atlanta on Sunday. Coming in second was movie producer Aaron Russo, followed by longtime radio talk host Gary Nolan.
Badnarik's victory was considered a shock because he had been beaten in the polls and primaries by both Nolan and Russo. According to many undecided delegates, Badnarik's superior performance in the Saturday debates propelled him ahead of the other candidates.
In an emotional acceptance speech on the convention floor, a surprised Badnarik declared, "Never in my wildest dreams!" Then he thanked delegates for their support and made it clear that his campaign will stay focused on forcing the government to abide by the Constitution.
"The reason we can't find a relationship between the Constitution and the government is that there is none," he said. "If I can win the Libertarian nomination, there's no reason I can't win this election. We have a unique opportunity to change the world."
For the past three years Badnarik has been teaching classes on the Constitution, and his message of forcing the government to strictly abide by that document appealed to many Libertarian delegates.
According to many political analysts, the Libertarian nominee could cost President George Bush the November election by attracting votes from frustrated Republicans in key swing states such as Wisconsin, Oregon and Nevada.
According to a May 21 article by David Paul Kuhn, chief political writer for CBSNews.com, many conservatives are so angry over Bush's spending increases that they may abandon the GOP in November.
If that happens, the Libertarian nominee "may do for Democrats in 2004 what Nader did for Republicans in 2000" and cost Bush the election, Kuhn says.
The Libertarian presidential candidate appeared on all 50 state ballots in 1992, 1996, and 2000, and the party is working toward that goal in 2004.
Two other candidates, David Hollist of California and Jeffrey Diket of Louisiana, were eliminated in the first round of voting.
In a separate vote, delegates chose Richard Campagna as their vice presidential nominee. Campagna, 52, is an attorney is Iowa City, Iowa.