Libertarians win ballot challenge, presidential candidate to visit Pennsylvania

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The Libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson, is kicking off a nationwide college campus tour at West Chester University on Monday just as his party beat back Republican efforts to keep him off the November ballot.

State Republicans fear that if the race tightens in Pennsylvania, Johnson's presence on the ticket could siphon votes from Mitt Romney. He's on most ballots nationwide causing some Republicans anxiety over whether he'll be a spoiler much like Green Party candidate Ralph Nader was to Democrat Al Gore in 2000. While he's to the left on social issues like gay marriage, libertarians, like Ron Paul, are more likely to draw Republican voters because of their limited government view.

The former New Mexico governor said recently in an interview on a gay and lesbian XM radio show that he hopes to reach the voter "who comes under the broad brush stroke of being socially accepting and fiscally responsible.”

The state Commonwealth Court ruled 2-1 this week that the petition signatures gathered by the Libertarian Party in Pennsylvania were valid. Republicans had argued that addresses listed did not match the statewide voter registry and thus should disqualify the Libertarian candidates, reported the Associated Press. 

The state Republican party is expected to appeal. If the Libertarians win it also means Rayburn Smith, a retired postal worker from Clarion County, will appear on the ballot as a candidate for the U.S. Senate. (We wrote about his candidacy last month.)

Johnson who polls in the low single digits nationwide - when pollsters even ask about him - hopes to find a following among young voters, which is why he's taking his message to college campuses.

“Along the campaign trail, I’ve been thrilled to find tremendous support from people in their 20′s who are embracing liberty like never before, thanks in large part to the historic influence of Rep. Ron Paul,” Johnson said in a release about his campus tour. “I’m excited to launch this tour, and to meet hundreds of young people in the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to hearing their ideas and to creating a dialogue about America’s future with the Americans who have the most at stake.”


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