Our Interview with J. V. LaBeaume

John V. LaBeaume is the new National Campaign Coordinator for the Libertarian Party. He was kind enough to share some of his thoughts on the upcoming mid-term elections, the new party website, and a new LP “get out the vote” tool that will be unveiled at this year’s National Convention in Portland.

TPW: Can you name a few Libertarian State House or State Senate candidates that appear to be running winnable races this year?

JVLaB: Candidates at the state level are still gearing up their campaigns, but off the top of my head I do know that Hardy Machia, the Vermont LP chair, has lined up a slate of candidates which may expand, and he has raised about $10,000 so that the slate can wage active campaigns in those very small districts.

Also, Dick Clark has put together a very professional campaign for State House in an Auburn-based district in Alabama.

In Austin, Texas, Libertarian Rock Howard has just kicked off what promises to be a feisty two-way race against an incumbent Democrat who was a controversial figure when he was mayor of that city.


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TPW: What are a some other local-level campaigns that you’re excited about this year? Specifically races where you think the party has a chance to either win substantial elected offices or generate serious media exposure.

JVLaB: Filing deadlines tend to be later for “down ballot” non-partisan offices, so that picture is still shaping up, but as noted previously, Vermont looks to be very active this year. California is putting together slates of candidates for non-partisan, local-level elections, too.

Those are two states to watch, but be on the lookout for more.

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TPW: While it’s easy to focus only on candidates running for office, are there any notable Libertarians campaigning for re-election this Fall?

JVLaB: We do have three county level elected officials up for re-election this year. In San Miguel County, Colorado, Sheriff Bill Masters is running for re-election on a Libertarian ticket with the incumbent county coroner, Robert Dempsey.

And in Mendocino County, California, District Attorney Norm Vroman has advanced to a November run-off in his bid for re-election.

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TPW: What do you feel is the most important business facing the delegates at next month’s national convention in Portland?

JVLaB: Gearing up for the 2006 election is very important, of course. Internally, all LNC positions will be chosen.

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TPW: Is the Libertarian Leadership School still operating and how successful do you feel that project has been for training likely candidates?

JVLaB: The LLS is still training LP candidates and campaign workers. We have had a number of candidates for this cycle enroll in courses, but this is also a long-range tool. Many students are preparing now for future campaigns.

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TPW: What kind of support will the national office be providing for Congressional, statewide, and local candidates this year?

JVLaB: The big news here is a new LP GOTV (Get out the Vote) tool that we will officially unveil at this year’s LP national convention. We were very encouraged by a trial run of this project in the special election in California’s 50th Congressional District this month. We managed to triple our Libertarian candidate’s - Paul King’s - vote totals from 819 in the April special primary to over 2,500 this time around and we doubled his percentage share of the vote. On the Libertarian primary ballot the same day, our GOTV efforts saw LP primary turnout the in 50th exceed every other surrounding district in Southern California by at least 6%, many by over 10%. In fact, a lefty blogger over at Huffington Post took note of these totals, suspecting Republican foul play, not an LP GOTV drive.

Also, we will be promoting our candidates via LP News and LP.org. We will offer candidate features and link to stories in the media about their campaigns. When candidates appear in debates, or address the local civic organization, or march in a town parade, we will point to their activity on an “On the Campaign Trail” page.

Keeping the flow of information here is critical. I have been in touch with many candidates, but I encourage all LP candidates and campaigns to contact me at [email protected] with news from the trail.

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TPW: The LP just launched a completely updated and redesigned website that looks much more modern than the previous version. Perhaps it’s too early to say, but do you have any initial indications on the effectiveness of this new site vs. the old one as far as converting visitors into donors and volunteers?

JVLaB: I was not deeply involved with this project, but all the initial feedback I’ve heard has been very favorable. I have had candidates and campaign workers pass along positive feedback about the new design on the site.

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TPW: Is there anything else you’d like to add or anything you wish to highlight that we can expect to see coming out of HQ in the near future?

JVLaB: We intend to do as much as we can under FEC law to assist and promote our Libertarian candidates for 2006. And, keep your eyes open for more information about our GOTV project.

2 Responses to “Our Interview with J. V. LaBeaume”

  1. Chris S. Says:

    John,

    How do you get to the “On the Campaign Trail” page? I can’t seem to find it.

    Thanks!

  2. Rock Howard Says:

    Thanks for the mention John. I must note, however, that my opponent is not an incumbent. He is a former Mayor, but he lost his last race which was for Texas Attorney General. I should also note that my campaign strategist, Max Nofziger, is a progressive community leader and former city councilman who led a winning campaign against a light rail proposal that my opponent spearheaded.

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