Oklahoma Libertarian Party
|Oklahoma Libertarian Party|
|Vice Chair:||Christina Wright|
The Oklahoma Libertarian Party is the Oklahoma affiliate of the Libertarian Party.
At one of the national conventions in the 70's the Oklahoma delegation announced on more than one occasion during the proceedings that they were going to go caucus, a phrase which in reality meant they were going to go to a second location and smoke marijuana. This rapidly became known as the Oklahoma Caucus which then evolved into a regular, if informal, event at national conventions where various esteemed Libertarians of the Sooner State would lead discussion of LP history and issues with all who cared to attend. The Oklahoma Caucus was last held as recently as 2002, hosted that year by Robert Murphy.
The OKLP has been very active in seeking to use the state's primary system to draw attention to the party. When achieving ballot access for the first time in 1980, the party had primaries for the 5th Congressional District, won by Jim Rushing over Frank Robinson, and for Tulsa County Clerk. Oklahoma had a closed primary system until 1987 when a semi-closed system was adopted, allowing parties to include registered Independents if they so chose. Agnes Regier defeated Mike Clem in 1996 for the U.S. Senate nomination with well over two-thirds of the votes coming from Independents. In 2000 three Libertarians faced each other for the nomination for Corporation Commission, with Whitney Boutin and Roger Bloxham advancing to a runoff. However, Boutin withdrew in order to allow Bloxham to become the nominee, a move that saved the state over $200,000 and generated positive press attention. When the OKLP again achieved ballot access in 2016 Dax Ewbanks and Robert Murphy faced off for the U.S. Senate nomination. Murphy went so far as to endorse Ewbanks, but both Independent and Libertarian voters were largely unfamiliar with the two candidates and Murphy won with 59%. The party is on the ballot for a gubernatorial election for the first time in 2018. Three candidates are seeking the gubernatorial election in what appears to be the first genuinely contested primary for the OKLP.
Oklahoma remains the only state in the Union which has a ban on tattooing. In the recent years, the OKLP have been major proponents of the various bills in the house and senate which would decriminalize tattooing; however, an ultra-conservative legislature have always struck the bills down. In 2004, the Oklahoma Senate passed SB 806 30-15 which would decriminalize tattooing; however, the sister HB 1519 foundered in the house due to the Republican leader not allowing it to be heard. The OKLP continues to push for the full legalization of tattooing. Opponents claim that by legalizing tattooing, it will spread diseases such as HIV which causes AIDS; however, the OKLP asserts the libertarian ideal of bringing tattooing into the free market. By bringing it into the free market, just like illegal drugs, reputable businesses will compete to provide a low-cost, healthy, and secure product and service. The law was changed by the state legislature but is extremely restrictive and has been issued legal challenges by tattoo artists.
The OKLP vehemently oppose the state's recent trend of intruding on the individual's right to smoke tobacco. The OKLP protested, lobbied, and got the message out about the crippling effects of an increased tax on tobacco; however, the 49th Legislature ratified HB 2660 which dramatically hiked the tax up on tobacco products.
The largest hurdle for the OKLP is access to the ballot. Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, who is the nation's foremost expert on 3rd party politics agrees that Oklahoma has the strictest laws in the nation with regard to access to the ballot for 3rd parties. Oklahoma' Democrat and Republican parties essentially have a state run monopoly. The state is decided evenly along partisan districts and the two parties rarely offer each other any competition in the elections. In 2006 more than half of the Oklahoma State House seats went unchallenged.
In 2004 there were only two choices for President in Oklahoma, Senator John Kerry or President George W. Bush. In the same year Afghanistan had 18!! Not only is Oklahoma the hardest state to get on the ballot in America, but in countries that most people would think would be much more restrictive. The last election in Iraq, they fielded over 350 Presidential candidates! America is spreading Democracy around the world while forgetting to protect Democracy at home.
In 2004 the LP of OK filed a lawsuit, claiming the ballot access laws were unconstitutional. The lawsuit was appealed to the Oklahoma State Supreme Court, who refused to hear their case in February of 2007.
Paul Jacob faced charges related to ballot access efforts in Oklahoma. The events surrounding this were chronicled at freepauljacob.com.
In 2014 legislation lowered the signature requirement for new parties to get on the ballot from 5% of the number of votes cast for president or governor in the previous general election to 3%. This made it easier for the OKLP to regain ballot access in 2016. In 2016 legislation reduced the vote percentage necessary to retain ballot access from 10% down to 2.5%. Gary Johnson's 5.7% result in the state marked the first time the OKLP has been able to stay on the ballot and the first time for any alternative party to do so in twenty years. E. Zachary Knight, OKLP 5th district congressional candidate in 2016, and Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform are to be credited for pushing these legislative changes.
Past Officials and Staff
- D. Frank Robinson (founding chair)
- Tom Laurent (1973)
- Porter Davis (1976)
- Loren L. Baker (1978)
- Matt Sweet (c 1994)
- Mike Todd (c 1995)
- Richard Prawdzienski (c 2001)
- Angelia O'Dell (c 2009)
- Tina Kelly (2016—March 31, 2018)
- Erin Adams (March 31, 2018—present)
- Jimmy Cook
- Steve Galpin
- Robert Murphy
- Chris Powell
- Larry Brittain , treasurer (c. 2008)
- Jimmy Cook, vice chair (c. 2009)
- David Splinter, vice chair
- Robert Stock, secretary
- Tom Laurent, secretary (1980)
- Bailey Betts, Vice Chair
- Christina Wright, Secretary
- Ron Phillips, Treasurer
Size and Influence
2004 - 2016
1972 - 2003
|2007||(Nov) 763||(Nov) 105|
|State Organizations of the National Libertarian Party|