When Louisiana voters go to the polls to chose a president on Nov. 4, they will find a name on the ballot many might not expect – Ron Paul.
Louisiana will be only one of two states where voters will have the opportunity to pull the lever for Paul, a congressman from Texas who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination. Paul built a wide coalition of grass roots support that helped him raise tens of millions of dollars for his campaign.
Paul has been added to the Louisiana ballot on the top of the Louisiana Taxpayers Party ticket with Barry Goldwater, Jr., a former Republican congressman from California and the son of the late Barry Goldwater, the Republican presidential nominee in 1964.
Paul and Goldwater are on the ballot due partly to the efforts of an Alexandria man, Brent Sanders.
Sanders, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully in the past as a Libertarian for both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Louisiana House of Representatives, helped create the Louisiana Taxpayers Party to place Paul on the ballot.
“There was a whole group of people who worked on it, not just me,” Sanders said. “I’m just located in the center of the state, so all the assets are sent to me and I distribute them.”
Those assets include Paul yard signs, bumper stickers and other paraphernalia, he said.
Louisiana is one of few states where no signatures are required to access the ballot.
All that is required for a candidate to appear on the ballot is nine notarized elector forms — one from each Congressional District and two at-large — and a $500 filing fee.
Montana, where the Constitution Party broke with the national party’s nomination of Chuck Baldwin and placed Paul on the ballot, is the only other state where voters will be able to choose Paul for president.
Sanders doesn’t believe either Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama will move the country in the right direction.
Even if Paul can’t win, the creation of the Louisiana Taxpayers Party will be a force to help shape future elections, he said.
“Right now it happens to be Ron Paul, but in the future it might be another candidate and we will have a structure in place,” Sanders said. “This is not about party. This is about supporting the (U.S.) Constitution and the republic — it’s leave your party at the door.”
Trent Hill, a Paul supporter who lives in Baton Rouge, who was also involved in the effort to get him on the Louisiana ballot, hopes Paul will make a strong enough showing in Louisiana to command attention.
“If he scores a couple of percentage points, it will show that we want more choices that are more conducive for liberty,” he said.
By Tom Bonnette • firstname.lastname@example.org • October 12, 2008