Friday, March 8, 2013

Stevens Not Seeking Re-Election As LPPA State Chair


I have decided not to seek re-election as State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania at the Annual Convention scheduled to be held on April 27, 2013.

I considered three factors before taking this decision.

The first was whether I deserved a second term based on the accomplishments of the Board and the Party under my leadership. By looking at our solid record of goals achieved and by the number of individuals urging me to run, I concluded that on this count, I should run for a second term.

Richard Winger of Ballot Access News wrote: "Tom Stevens led the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party to the greatest ballot access victory in the state party's history. The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party's 2012 ballot access victory was the first time any statewide minor party or independent candidate for statewide office has ever defeated a challenge backed by one of the two major parties."

Roy Minet, John Karr and I were designated "Libertarian Ballot Access Heroes" by LP News for obtaining 18,000 additional signatures after problems were identified with the quality of the signatures obtained during the petition drive, which was considered over when I took office as Chair.

After a 9-week battle, with the help of 84 volunteers, the Gary Johnson Campaign, and the national Libertarian Party, we got Gary Johnson and our statewide candidates on the ballot. Gary Johnson obtained the highest vote total of any Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate in the history of the party. Rayburn Douglas Smith (LP Candidate for United States Senate), Betsy Summers (LP Candidate for Auditor General), Marakay Rogers (LP Candidate for Attorney General) and Patti Fryman (LP Candidate for Treasurer) all ran extraordinary campaigns and each received a significant number of votes over what Gary Johnson and Judge Gray got. As a result of all our efforts, the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania once again qualified for "Minor Party" status so people can again register "Libertarian".

We won a series of lawsuits with decisions that will make obtaining ballot access easier in the years to come. Membership was up 87.8% from the April, 2012 Annual Convention through the end of 2012 and new LPPA County and Regional LP Chapters were formed in Bucks County, Berks County, Chester County, Monroe County, Lehigh County, Schuylkill County, Carbon County, Franklin County, Adams County, Montour County and Columbia County. Facebook Groups were also formed for at least 14 additional counties in the process of forming County Committees.

Our new website will be up by the Annual Convention and more federal lawsuits are in the works to make ballot access easier. Communication avenues were re-established, moderation was applied, hundreds of party members now observe party business on a regular basis and all our Standing and Working Committees are fully staffed and working on real issues every day. A new Life Membership was established and donations to the party are up in every category. The many other goals we achieved have been posted elsewhere.

The second factor I considered was whether as a practical matter, I could win re-election. I concluded this would not be a problem. The announced candidate for State Chair did not support Gary Johnson because he did not believe Gary Johnson was libertarian enough. In addition, he did not obtain a single signature for either Gary Johnson or the LPPA's Statewide Candidates and did not volunteer a single hour to help defend our petitions against the GOP challenge but he had no problem in actively working for Ron Paul in the GOP primary. While four of the statewide candidates running against the incumbents are all active in Montgomery County, the statewide slate of candidates running for re-election come from a broad geographic region. Not one person has urged me not to run. To the contrary, I have been receiving offers of support from individuals who, despite illness and advanced age, were willing to make the trip to the Annual Convention to support me for re-election.

The third factor I considered was whether I wish to serve another term given the anticipated continuation of the politics of personal destruction, threats to my personal well-being and harassment taking place every day. My only goal has been to build the party in numbers and strength and I am finding my ability to continue to do that has been undermined by the efforts of those who oppose a strong Libertarian Party as a threat to liberty, who don't believe in running candidates with the goal of winning elections, who exhibit their prejudices against those peacefully living in lifestyles of their choice, who are contacting new members and dragging them into the manufactured "infighting" so they lose interest in being active, and who would rather support Ron Paul and a "Vote for Nobody" campaign than support Gary Johnson and those statewide Libertarian Party candidates nominated by LPPA delegates in convention.

Given these circumstances, I feel that continuing to build the party to only see it torn down by radical anarchists and Toxic Libertarians is not the best use of my time and effort. Still, I will continue to help the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania in any way I can and I will always be friends with the scores of people who have worked hard to make this year a success.

In Liberty,

Dr. Tom Stevens
LPPA State Chair

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