Libertarian National Committee Chair Angela McArdle expressed confusion at Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s pick for a presidential running mate as his campaign is in talks with running on the Libertarian Party ticket.

On Tuesday, Mr. Kennedy announced Silicon Valley lawyer Nicole Shanahan as his running mate for his 2024 presidential campaign. Reacting to the announcement in an interview with The Hill on NewsNation on March 26, Ms. McArdle said a lot of libertarians “are confused” by Mr. Kennedy’s choice in running mate at a time when he’s trying to convince the party to let him be their presidential candidate.

“I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but she doesn’t necessarily fit into alignment with any of our views,” Ms. McArdle said.

The LNC chair noted Ms. Shanahan’s past support for various Democrat political candidates, including President Joe Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, the last of whom Ms. McArdle said has “not been a good district attorney” and “doesn’t seem to respect property rights.”

“So I’m really unsure how she’s going to fit in with the Libertarian Party and I’m anxious to hear about it,” the LNC chair said.

During the interview, Ms. McArdle noted she had spoken to the Kennedy campaign about what it would take to win the Libertarian Party nomination. She said she had advised Mr. Kennedy, just as she does with all party candidates, that he must win over registered party delegates to be considered at the party’s May 23 nominating convention.

Ms. McArdle explained that Mr. Kennedy’s choice of running mate wouldn’t disqualify him as a contender in the party nominating process, but she said his pick of Ms. Shanahan “doesn’t right out of the gate seem like it’s going to do a lot to help.”

NTD News reached out to the Kennedy campaign for comment but did not receive a response by press time.

Libertarian Backing Could Provide Ballot Access

Mr. Kennedy’s White House aspirations rest, in part, on gaining access to ballots across the country. He originally sought to run for president as a Democrat but pivoted to an independent bid in October, saying that the Democratic primary process was “rigged” against him.

Obtaining ballot access across the country can be difficult for independent candidates who don’t have the backing of a formal party structure.

Mr. Kennedy has estimated it will take at least $15 million to fund the work needed to get on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Kennedy founded the We The People party earlier this year as a vehicle to assist in some of these ballot access challenges, with some states providing a lower threshold for ballot access for candidates affiliated with a specific party. Mr. Kennedy has qualified for ballot access in Hawaii under the We The People party structure. He has also qualified as an independent candidate in New Hampshire and Utah.

The Kennedy campaign is currently in a ballot access dispute in Nevada and is threatening a lawsuit. The Kennedy campaign contends he had gathered the 15,000 signatures the Nevada Secretary of State told him he needed to win ballot access, but the Nevada Secretary of State’s office later said it mistakenly failed to inform him that he would have to “designate a nominee for vice president” as part of the signature-gathering process.

The Libertarian Party was able to obtain ballot access across all 50 states in past election cycles, including during the 2016 and 2020 elections. Winning the support of the Libertarian Party could therefore boost Mr. Kennedy’s 2024 White House bid.

The Libertarian Party could also stand to benefit from having a candidate with a relatively high degree of name recognition, as Mr. Kennedy might provide through his family name. His uncle was President John F. Kennedy, and his father was Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated when he was a Democratic presidential candidate in 1968.

“So far, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the only candidate … who has that star power,” Ms. McArdle said.

Challenges for Winning Libertarian Party Support

The Libertarian Party leadership may be reluctant to support a ticket that doesn’t closely align with the party’s platform and views.

The party saw a leadership shakeup in May 2022 as a wing of the party known as the Mises Caucus brought its slate of officers to power throughout top party positions, on a platform that calls for staunch support for “self ownership, property rights, the non-aggression principle, political self-determination,” and an understanding of principals taught by the Austrian school of economic thought.

Ms. McArdle supported the Mises Caucus organizing, and the Mises Caucus endorsed her run for the LNC chair position.

The Mises Caucus has endorsed former New York University professor Michael Rectenwald and libertarian podcaster Clint Russell to be the Libertarian Party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively.

In a January post on social media, the Mises Caucus rebuffed Mr. Kennedy’s calls for raising the minimum wage above $25 an hour. The caucus said minimum wage laws should be abolished entirely and that Mr. Kennedy is “economically illiterate.”

“We firmly oppose any strategy that would ’rent out’ our party’s place on any state’s ballot to RFK, or indeed any candidate who has so many disqualifying deviations from the essential principles of libertarianism,” the Mises Caucus said in another lengthy social media post on Feb. 10.

The February post went on to say that allowing Mr. Kennedy to adopt the Libertarian Party label would risk the chance of American voters widely conflating Mr. Kennedy’s views to those of the Libertarian Party, which in turn could then “empty the LP of a large number of its most committed activists while attracting an influx of those with little or no regard for the Non-Aggression Principle.”

Announcing his pick for a running mate, Mr. Kennedy said Ms. Shanahan’s experience inside Silicon Valley could help to combat censorship arising as a result of government pressure on tech companies.

Mr. Kennedy said Ms. Shanahan “shares my indignation about the participation of Big Tech as a partner in the censorship and their surveillance, and the information warfare that our government is currently waging against the American people.”

Jeff Louderbeck contributed to this report.

From NTD News

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