Libertarian Party National Convention set for next week in Orlando

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With all the talk that the nation needs a third choice for president, software tycoon John McAfee and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson could be forgiven for jumping up and down shouting, “Here I am!”

McAfee, Johnson and 16 other Libertarian candidate for president will be in Orlando May 27-30 for  the Libertarian Party National Convention, where the nation’s third-biggest political party will set its platform and pick its presidential and vice presidential candidates.

The convention will be at the Rosen Centre.

While 18 Libertarians have formally filed to run for president, only a half-dozen or so are likely to get serious consideration at the convention, including McAfee, founder of the software company that bears his name; and Johnson, a two-term New Mexico governor who made a brief and unspectacular run for president as a Republican in 2012.

The other high-profile presidential candidates likely are to include Marc Feldman of Ohio, Kevin McCormick of Arizona, Darryl Perry of New Hampshire and Austin Petersen of Missouri, all of whom have been regulars on the Libertarian campaign trail and at the party’s state conventions.

The Libertarian convention rules will have candidates nominated on May 28, and those who collect the most tokens of support from the 1,000 or so delegates will participate in a debate that night. The next day the delegates will formally vote.

The Libertarians also will be voting on a vice presidential candidate. For that, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, a former Republican, announced two weeks ago that he joined the Libertarian Party so that he might run for vice president. Other candidates likely will emerge, with a vice presidential debate set for May 27, and the vote for May 29.

As for that interest in a third party, Libertarian spokeswoman Carla Howell said the party has seen a 30 percent increase in membership just in the past two months, as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton became the apparent nominees for the Republicans and Democrats.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.