Libertarians repudiate Mecklenburg candidate

North Carolina Libertarians have taken the unusual step of repudiating a candidate. The state executive committee passed a resolution repudiating the candidacy of Jack Stratton for Mecklenburg County Commission.

The resolution adopted May 8 alleges Stratton is using his campaign “to pursue personal goals rather than a bona-fide run for public office.” The resolution also charges that Stratton has a history of responding to criticism with “unfounded legal threats and intimidation.”

This is probably the first time in its history the party has taken such an action. The Libertarian Party gained ballot status in North Carolina in 1978 and has been on the ballot in for every presidential and gubernatorial election since then, except for 1988.

Barbara Howe, state chair, said that several members of the Mecklenburg County Libertarian chapter brought the matter to the executive committee’s attention. “I believe that he is running as a Libertarian now, not as an expression of political philosophy, but merely because it gives him a platform to remain in the race through November,” said Chris Cole, a former Mecklenburg LP chair. Cole said that when Stratton ran in the Republican primary for Charlotte mayor last year he said he was running only to get his children back from DSS.

“He has claimed that the winning primary candidates in the mayoral race, John Lassiter and Anthony Foxx, are part of a conspiracy together with Bank of America, to confiscate children for a sex slave ring,” Cole said. These accusations are posted on his website.

“While we have sympathy for Mr. Stratton’s issues with the DSS, we do not believe he should use political campaign to air these grievances.” In particularly, she said Stratton’s threats of physical violence was a direct violation of the non-aggression principal, the fundamental principle of libertarianism.

Libertarians believe no individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. They believe all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.

“Unfortunately, we have no control over who can register Libertarian and run as a Libertarian candidate, even if they don’t agree with our platform and philosophy,” Howe said. North Carolina law requires recognized political parties to conduct primaries if more than one candidate files for an office. If only one person files, he or she is automatically listed as that party’s nominee.

As private voluntary groups, the Libertarian Party advocates that political parties be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, and choose candidates any way they wish. The Libertarian platform calls for elections at all levels to be controlled by those who wish to participate in or support them voluntarily.

Howe said that the LPNC had been trying for several months to contact Stratton regarding this issue, but that he did not respond to several emails and telephone calls. Stratton did not respond to a request for comment on this article.

Stratton’s website does not contain any reference to his candidacy, but does include articles and comments regarding his disagreements with local government officials.

* * *

Here is the text of the resolution:

Whereas Mr. Jack Stratton is registered with the state of North Carolina as a Libertarian, and;

Whereas Mr. Stratton has filed to run for Mecklenburg County Commissioner in the 2010 elections, and;

Whereas Mr. Stratton is using his campaign to pursue personal goals rather than a bona-fide run for public office, and;

Whereas Mr. Stratton has displayed a historical pattern of responding to criticism and discussion with unfounded legal threats and intimidation, and;

Whereas the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party believes that Mr. Stratton’s behavior goes well beyond self-defense, violates the Libertarian non-aggression principle, and runs counter to the spirit of freedom, liberty, and responsibility that the Libertarian Party strives to promote,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Libertarian Party of North Carolina repudiates Mr. Stratton as a candidate for public office and neither supports nor endorses his candidacy. This shall include, but is not limited to, striking his name from the list of candidates endorsed by the Libertarian Party of North Carolina and the refusal of any financial, logistical, or electoral support.