Liveblog: Libertarian presidential nomination balloting begins

It’s an exciting day here in the Libertarian National Convention hive at the downtown Denver Sheraton Hotel.

Sunday morning’s activities were dominated with speeches by the presidential nomination candidates (see related front-page story, "Libertarians talk their talk"). But, unlike the Republican and Democratic parties, the nominating process is a bit different. Read a primer on how it works. We’ll update the nomination process as it goes.

12:43 p.m.: Nomination primer

The Libertarian National Party provided this handy guide on how their nomination process works:

The Libertarian nominee for president is elected by delegates at the national convention. Delegates are selected by our state affiliates from across the nation, using that state’s rules for delegate selection. Aside from backroom politicking, the two main events our candidates use for persuading delegates are the nominating speeches and the presidential debate.However, not just anyone can make a speech or participate in the debate.

This year, our candidates will be accepting “nominating tokens,” which will be used to determine who will qualify to give a nominating speech or have a seat in the nationally televised debate. Each delegate is given a token when he registers at the convention. Delegates will give their token to the presidential candidate of their choosing. Candidates must collect 30 tokens in order to be given a chance to make a 16-minute nominating speech. In order to gain a spot in the debate, candidates must collect 10 percent of the delegate tokens.

However, there is a catch. Candidates do not have to stop once they reach 10 percent of the total amount of tokens. If candidates collect more than 10 percent, they help narrow the odds of other candidates opposing them in the debate.

On Sunday, after the nominating speeches are finished, delegates will vote for the nominee for president. After the first round of voting, usually a motion is made to eliminate the candidates that are clearly not the “frontrunners,” then a second round of voting is done. After each round, the last place candidate is eliminated, and voting will continue until only one candidate is left to become the nominee.

The vice presidential nominee is also elected in this way, though there is no separate debate for those candidates.

Wendy Norris

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1:04 p.m.: States announce first round voting

State delegate chairs are rising to the podium to report their straw vote tallies along with interesting, weird and political tidbits about their states. It’s gonna be a long afternoon as it’s rumored that the balloting will go through at least four rounds.

By my unofficial, half-listening poll Vegas odds-maker Wayne Allyn Root and biophysicist Mary Ruwart are leading the candidates. Steve Kubby, founder of the American Medical Marijuana Association, isn’t doing half bad either. Bob Barr‘s not getting skunked but he’s not sweeping the tally as expected.

Wendy Norris

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1:27 p.m.: Concession speeches

Two-time candidate Michael Jingozian asks for his supporters to throw their votes to former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.

Candidate Christine Smith goes off on ex-Rep. Bob Barr and implores delegates to reject his Johnny-Libertarian-come-lately entry into the race. She is soundly booed. Somebody in the crowd yells "Go home!"

Smith asks her delegates to get behind Kubby.

Wendy Norris

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1:44 p.m.: Write-in for Truthiness

Stephen Colbert (is he a Libertarian?) gets a write-in candidacy nod.

Wendy Norris

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1:48 p.m.: Motion from the floor

A call is issued to remove George Phillies from the ballot as he only received six percent of the 2nd round votes. The motion is resounding rejected — as in loud boos — from the floor.

Wendy Norris

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1:52 p.m.: Kubby concedes

Congratulates the delegates for being "polite, wonderful and civilized." Endorses Mary Ruwart for the presidency.

Wendy Norris

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2:16 p.m.: Heading to the final stretch?

We’re through the third round of voting. Barr and Ruwart are tied at 186 votes each. Root’s hanging in there with 146. Gravel clings to fourth place with 78 votes. I think it’s good night for Phillies with just 31.

Wendy Norris

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2:18 p.m.: Phillies concedes

George Phillies gets a standing ovation. He graciously thanks his fellow candidates.

"The enemy is not here! The enemy is out there!," exclaims Phillies. Combines Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Lyndon LaRouche as the liberal enemies. The conservative enemies, accordingly, are Lester Maddox, George Bush, George Wallace and John Sununu.

I’m not sure what that was all about by invoking current and long-dead politicians — and I’m here in the room.

Wendy Norris

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2:39 p.m.: Top spot tie

Barr and Ruwart are tied with 202 votes each in fourth round balloting. Root’s hanging in there with 149. Gravel is out with just 76 votes.

Wendy Norris

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2:56 p.m.: Oooh… Guy Fawlkes is here.

Or a Libertarian in a "V is for Victory" mask. Cara’s trying to chase him down to snap a picture. 

Wendy Norris

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3:00 p.m.: Fifth round ballot results

Ruwart takes a slim lead with 229 votes over Barr’s 223. Root comes in third and is eliminated. "None of the above" gets six votes and goes onto the sixth round.

Wendy Norris

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3:04 p.m.: Root makes the pitch for Veep

Root says "I want to be at the side of Bob Barr to learn how to be a successful candidate." He then promises to run again in 2012 under the ever-hopeful presumption that Barr will win the presidency. Now that’s moxie.

Crowd erupts in Barr-Root chant.

Wendy Norris

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3:08 p.m.: It’s getting boisterous and testy

Rowart delegate holds a "Mary!" sign calling out to kick out the Neo-Cons resurrecting the LINO swipes from yesterday’s convention action. He gets shouted down by a Barr-Root supporter "to grow up."

Wendy Norris

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3:10 p.m.: A couple Ruwart die-hards weigh in before the results are announced

Shortly before the vote, Greg Woods, a delegate from Louisville, Colorado, holds aloft a large “Heart Mary” sign. He doesn’t know that he could support Barr or Root, both former Republicans, if they beat out his choice.

“I’m not 100 percent convinced that either of them are committed Libertarians,” Woods says. “[Barr] voted for the PATRIOT Act. Now he says he’s sorry. We will see.”

Barr at the top of the ticket will certainly bring more media attention to the Party, Woods notes. But, “he hasn’t been with us long enough. Hopefully he really is a Libertarian.”

Meanwhile, Starchild (his first and last name), a delegate from San Francisco and ardent Ruwart supporter, looked to be near tears as Barr was announced the winner, with 54 percent of the vote. Asked whether his win had the potential of splitting the party, Starchild, says, “It’s not going to help.”

Cara DeGette

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3:13 p.m.: Learning from the master

Root riles up supporters on the floor. He and Barr embrace. Root, an avowed Goldwater Republican, says that the GOP left him and Barr behind. Claims he’s a political neophyte but is hoping the spend the next four years "learning from the master."

Wendy Norris

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3:35 p.m.: Barr wins nomination

Ex-Georgia congressman Bob Barr wins the Libertarian Party nomination for the presidency.

Wendy Norris

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3:40 p.m.: Ruwart makes her concession speech

A clearly disappointed candidate thanks her campaign staff and tells supporters that she’s going to do what she does best — writing, teaching and carrying the message of the Libertarian Party.

Wendy Norris

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3:45 p.m.: Barr makes nomination speech

To raucous applause Barr starts his candidate stump with usual political fodder — thanking party dignitaries by name. Slurp!

Barr thanks the delegates for selecting "the strongest ticket in Libertarian Party history." He reminds the crowd that "there are just 163 days to win this election. Do not waste a single day."

Barr is expected to advocate for Wayne Allyn Root as his veep, who will be selected by delegates in the next round of voting.

Deftly addressing criticism that he and his supporters are "Libertarians in Name Only," or LINOs, Barr makes two references in his speech about his leadership position in the party’s Fourth District region that represents the southeast states. Take that you Neo-Con haters.

Wendy Norris

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3:45 p.m.: More Barr speech

Barr made a point of thanking Mary Ruwart for her hard work in the Libertarian Party and for the work she’ll be contributing to the party in the years ahead.

He also thanked many other Libertarian Party activists; said he won’t be surprised if we see several of them in the Barr administration cabinet.

“Many of you have commented to me over the years that I am tall and handsome,” said Barr, who, like his declared vice presidential candidate looks to be about 5’5”. Guys you can look in the eye, if you’re me.

Barr also introduced the crowd to his wife, Jeri Barr, “the next First Lady of the United States.”

He thanked his campaign staff, and he thanked “all of the fine candidates we’ve had for the nomination.” And he thanked all of the delegates who pushed him to the top of the ticket.

“I’m honored to have their support and have them working on behalf of the Libertarian Party,” Barr said. “This will be an historic and positive campaign … we are not in this race [just] to make a point.

“We have a very important message — that we will win. This is a race we can win, but we’ll need your help to do so.”

Cara DeGette

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3:54 p.m.: Colorado delegation lukewarm on Barr

The state delegation’s tally in the last round: 3 votes for Barr, 8 for Ruwart and 7 for None of the Above

Wendy Norris

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3:59 p.m.: The convention is on a temporary recess

Delegates are taking a 30-minute break before voting on Barr’s running mate.

Wendy Norris

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4:32 p.m.: Veep stakes begins

Six potential vice presidential candidates are being introduced — including Steve Kubby and Wayne Allyn Root. Nominations are being offered by delegates at the podium for which each veep candidate will have 11 minutes to make their case, as the presidential candidates did. Not sure of the relevancy "11" minutes. Prime numbers rule?

Wendy Norris

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4:42 p.m.: It’s a name game

Appears the VP candidates are staking their claims for the office on how Libertarian they are. Gail Lightfoot says her last name draws votes because it means Libertarian. Um… okay.

James Burns ups the ante — he legally changed his middle name to "Libertarian." That’s dedication but then he kinda blows it by talking about all the Nevada races that he’s run in that he’s lost. But he recovers by talking about the nine months that he spent in the pokey for not filing his income taxes. Now, he’s skidding out of control by claiming, with a laugh, that he’s not crazy. But cavemen cooperated with each other and so should we so we can bring peace and prosperity to the planet.

Burns says he brings balance to the ticket because he’s a long-time Lib and not new to the Party, like Barr. Yee-owch.

Wendy Norris

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4:54 p.m.: More veep stakes…

Daniel Williams makes a good speech about snagging youth vote and small "l" libertarians into the party but nobody is paying attention. But he gets applause for abolishing drug laws. Now, he’s on to gay rights. Williams claims that while being gay is a choice but that the government has no business in legislating that choice. Now, he’s pitching his book and comparing himself to Ron Paul.

Wendy Norris

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4:58 p.m.: Veep scoop!

Leonard Schwartz withdraws his candidacy so he can run for U.S. Senate in Michigan. You read it here first.

Wendy Norris

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5:01 p.m.: Mary Ruwart returns to the stage, this time to nominate Steve Kubby for vice president

“There is always a little sense of division after these nomination … but I think we can heal that. I’d like to try, if we are going to change the system, to rise above it.”

Ruwart pushes for a balance to the ticket, particularly for a need to pick someone who is fully committed to fully embrace ending drug probation, not just supporting medical marijuana. “We will need someone strong and committed, who knows of the drug war firsthand.”

Cara DeGette

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5:09 p.m.: Bob Barr weighs in from the podium

Barr makes the pitch for Wayne Allyn Root to cheers and hollers from the crowd. Barr compliments the candidates as good libertarians. He urges the delegates to advocate for the "team" because of Root’s business background and public policy work. Balloting begins.

Wendy Norris

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5:33 p.m.: Veep first ballot results

Root with 48 percent of the vote, Kubby got 37 and Williams got 7. Lightfoot and Burns got skunked with less than five percent and won’t make the second round ballot.

Cara DeGette and Wendy Norris

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5:40 p.m.: Second ballot Veep stakes continued

Lightfoot and Burns throw support behind Kubby. Lightfoot calls him "my very good friend." But even if all the Lightfoot and Burns supporters go for Kubby, he won’t have enough to take him over the top. Williams approaches the podium. He withdraws and lines up with Root. That’ll give Root the majority if Williams’ supporters follow suit.

Cara DeGette and Wendy Norris

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6:04 p.m.: Libs pick their VP

Root wins with 51 percent of the vote. Kubby pulls up short.

Final tally: Root 50.6 percent; Kubby 45.3 percent; Williams 2.5 percent and None of the Above 1.1 percent; and three write-ins garnered 0.5 percent.

Cara DeGette and Wendy Norris

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6:15 p.m.: Wayne Allyn Root gives an Academy Award speech

He thanks everybody. And I mean everybody.

Wendy Norris

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6:17 p.m.: Bob Barr goes to the podium

Barr introduces the ticket to lackluster applause. I think working through lunch and the altitude are dragging the Libertarians’ late afternoon enthusiasm.

Wendy Norris

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6:18 p.m.: The convention is adjourned for the day

Whew!

Wendy Norris

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