The Kansas Libertarian Party is getting ready to hold its state convention.
It's not actually as strange as it sounds. This year, the Sunflower State's biggest third party has decided to share a convention with the Show Me State so they can all get to see as many of their presidential candidates as possible.
So far, seven have agreed to come and participate in a debate at the bi-state convention.
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The most recognizable name and likely winner is Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who tried for the Republican nomination earlier this year and then bolted to the Libertarians after he was denied a place on stage in several GOP presidential debates.Gary JohnsonWhile the other candidates are not widely known to the general public, all have been active in party circles, said Al Terwelp, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Kansas.
Joining Johnson in the Libertarian debate will be Jim Burns, Roger Gary, Carl Person, Bill Still, and R. Lee Wrights.
– Burns is a longtime Libertarian activist from Nevada who did nine months in prison for refusing to pay income taxes.
– Gary is the former chairman of the Texas Libertarian Party and held elective office, a seat on the board of the San Antonio River Authority.
– Harris is a National Guard veteran and first year law student at the University of Oklahoma.
– Person is a New York antitrust and small-business attorney who once started a for-profit court system called the "National Private Court."
– Sill is a documentary film-maker and former newspaper editor from Virginia.
– Wrights, of North Carolina, is editor of LibertyForAll.net and former vice-chairman of the party.
There are apparently others running, but the party's national web site doesn't say who they are.
"The candidates running for the Libertarian nomination for president have been removed per the vote of the Libertarian National Committee," is all that appears on the party's presidential election page.
It's been an interesting year for Kansas Libertarians.
The party crossed the 10,000-member threshold for the first time in October, then dropped back a little as members reregistered as Republicans to support their close spiritual cousin, the libertarian-leaning Texas Rep. Ron Paul, in his battle for the GOP presidential nomination.
Terwelp didn't reregister Republican – it wouldn't have looked good for a party chairman to do that — but he did speak as Paul's official representative at a Republican caucus in the Kansas City area last week.He said he expects to get his members back, and maybe a few more, now that the caucus is over.
In Saturday's GOP caucus, Paul got 12.6 percent of the vote, but none of Kansas' 40 GOP convention delegates.
"The Republican Party has pushed all the Ron Paul supporters out of the party," Terwelp said.
The Libertarian convention(s) will be held March 24 at the Holiday Inn KCI in Kansas City Mo.
In addition to the debate, the event will include political workshops, selection of state candidates and national delegates, and a banquet.
Tickets for the workshops and debate are $20, the debate alone is $10 and the banquet is $25. Party business sessions are free and all events are open to the general public.
For information, call 785-665-7581.Jim BurnsRJ HarrisBill SillCarl PersonRoger GaryW. Lee Wrights