Libertarian leaders eye Pittsburgh for convention
Leaders of the Libertarian Party plan to size up Pittsburgh this weekend as a potential site for a future national convention.
While it wouldn't draw the crowds that typically attend the Republican and Democratic national conventions, the organization that bills itself as the nation's third-largest political party could bring as many as 1,000 delegates, family and guests here, Libertarian National Chairman William Redpath said Wednesday.
"We are different from Republicans and Democrats," Redpath said. "Republicans and Democrats try to control people's lives in various ways."
Redpath maintains Libertarians represent "the only party that is consistently in favor of individual freedom and individual responsibility."
The Libertarian National Committee will conduct its quarterly board meeting Saturday and Sunday at the Hilton Pittsburgh, Downtown. Redpath will discuss the possibility of a national convention in 2010 or 2012 during a news conference at 5:15 p.m. Saturday at the hotel.
The party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two major parties, holds national conventions every two years.
Mark Rauterkus, of the South Side, who plans a race for City Council in the fall as a Libertarian candidate, said the party "has a growing base in Western Pennsylvania." New members include some people "turned off" by the war in Iraq and others disillusioned with the city's "Democratic model of giving away things that's failed."
"We're bankrupt and still losing people," he said.
Rauterkus twice ran unsuccessful campaigns as a Libertarian for council and the state Senate. He said he believes the campaigns helped promote important issues, including consolidation of functions in city and county government.
The 3,269 voters registered as Libertarians in Allegheny County rank as the largest third party, but equate to a fraction of 1 percent of the county's 893,606 registered voters. There about 36,000 registered Libertarians statewide. There are 29 Libertarian officeholders in the state, all of them at the local level.
Nationally, the party is in a rebuilding phase, Redpath said. Its membership of active donors -- contributors of $25 or more a year -- has slipped to about 11,000 from a peak of 34,000 in 1999, he said.
More than 200,000 Americans are registered as Libertarians, according to the party's Web site. In 2006, about 13.4 million votes were cast for Libertarian candidates around the nation, according to information on the site.
"In a nutshell, we are advocates for a smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom," it says.
The party has recorded an 18 percent increase in membership since January, said Shane Cory, the party's executive director.
Seventeen national committee members and alternates are expected to participate in the board meeting in Pittsburgh. The group will discuss the party's progress and future goals and assess the city as a convention site.
Suitable hotel accommodations is part of the formula. The group also will get "general impressions of the city," Redpath said. "Is it clean, comfortable and fun, and will it provide a positive experience for our members."
"I've been to Pittsburgh often enough to know that it would," he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Tabata rediscovering his power
- AG Kane’s spokesman leaving after 2 months on the job
- Pirates sickened by pic of ‘Jihadi John’ wearing Bucs ball cap
- Seton-La Salle girls defeat rival Bishop Canevin to capture 7th WPIAL title
- At Pitt, a chance to make early impression under Narduzzi
- Highmark lays off nearly 100 workers, mostly in IT, as membership declines
- Why would GOP candidate for Missouri governor Schweich kill himself?
- Podiatrist, 6 others charged in prescription painkiller scheme
- Obama pitches privacy bill, Democrats say
- Rep. Schock of Illinois shoulders $40K cost of office renovation
- Trade for Winnik gives Penguins competition among bottom six