Quick, off the top of your head, who was the last Georgian nominated for president? The answer to that question is not Jimmy Carter but rather Bob Barr, nominated by the Libertarian party in 2008. The on-again, off-again, on-again Republican and Patriot Act critic garnered a cool 523,715 votes that year, good for 0.4 percent of the vote and fourth place – a short distance behind Independent Ralph Nader and his 739,034 votes. Barack Obama received 69.5 million.

This year, the Libertarians will give the nod to previous Georgia Senate candidate Chase Oliver. Oliver started out his political activism as a Democrat, supporting Barack Obama in 2008 because of his antipathy towards the Bush administration and anti-war views. After a chance meeting with some Libertarian Party members at the 2010 Atlanta Pride Festival, Oliver joined the party as he felt the Democrats were not doing enough to end U.S. interventionism. His first run for political office was for the 5th District House seat after John Lewis’ passing in 2020. He received about 2 percent of the vote and was eliminated in the jungle primary to determine the candidates in the special election.

Oliver made a real name for himself as the 2022 Senate candidate, running against Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. It’s not completely clear but Oliver is often noted as a spoiler in that race, garnering 2.07 percent in the race where Warnock received 49.44 percent and Walker 48.49 percent. General consensus is that Libertarians pull more from Republicans than Democrats. Whether or not that would have been enough of a share to push Walker over the edge we’ll never know but things would be much different if Walker had secured that seat without a runoff that year.

Since the Senate campaign, Oliver has been active in Atlanta, frequently protesting and speaking out against the “Cop City” development, highlighting growing distrust between citizens and the government. He noted at the convention that he has made stops in all 50 states and has hundreds of volunteers. His anti-war views might still be called the foundation of his politics, with one of his goals to target young voters over the Israel-Hamas war.

With the split among Libertarians concerned about Oliver’s support for Covid-polices and his Democratic past, there is a concern that RFK Jr. could be this year’s third-place finisher with the Libertarians a distant fourth. One candidate for vice president at the Libertarian convention noted that RFK is sucking up all the “I’m mad at the system” money and votes that have been reserved for Libertarians in the last few cycles. Ross Perot is still far and away the highest vote getter for a third party since Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose run in 1912 – Perot received nearly 20 million votes in 1992. With the chaos or uncertainty in 2016, there were high hopes for previous New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson but even then he only received 4.4 million votes, garnering 3.3 percent of the vote. With RFK on the ballot in many states this year, Oliver has a tall order ahead of him.


Lost your password?