Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What about Bob?

Ralph Z. Hallow of The Washington Times reports:
Former Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia is considering a third-party presidential run — a bid that could steal support from Republican John McCain and potentially offset the damage Ralph Nader"s candidacy is predicted to have on the Democratic candidate.
Mr. Barr, a House Republican impeachment manager during President Clinton's administration, yesterday confirmed his interest in running as a Libertarian but said he is unwilling to talk about any "polling we may have done or may do, not at this point."
"There is great deal [of] dissatisfaction with the candidates for the two major parties, particularly among conservatives, but also a great deal of Internet and other support for a candidate like Ron Paul who advocates libertarian and true conservative principles," said Mr. Barr, who is now a Libertarian.
(Hat-tip: Jim Antle) Hallow asked pollster John Zogby about the potential impact of a Barr LP candidacy:

"In this election cycle, where red and blue states can get realigned, where race and gender are wild cards, it won't take all that many votes in some states to mix things up even further," Mr. Zogby said.

Indeed. Barr has name recognition and media savvy, and if he captures some of the enthusiasm (and fundraising) that the Ron Paul campaign generated, he could be a factor. As I reported in February:
One supporter said Barr could become the "heir apparent" to Paul, whose campaign raised more than $30 million. In a Friday message to supporters, Paul -- who was the 1988 LP candidate -- definitively ruled out a third-party White House run this year.
Another pro-Barr activist who is familiar with details of the record-setting online fundraising operation for Paul's campaign said the Texan's donors are primed to shift their contributions to a Libertarian candidate "who's got a real chance" to win in November.
"They're ready to go," said the Internet activist, who said he'd been trying to persuade Barr to seek the LP nomination since last fall. "It's very logical -- that's what's next."
If so, then the electoral calculus could become very interesting.

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