AUGUSTA — Maine Libertarians hope tea will provide fuel for their bid to regain official party recognition.
The Libertarians’ executive committee voted last weekend to move forward with an effort to become recognized as an official political party in Maine. And Shawn Levasseur, state chairman, said Libertarians hope to pick up some support from the tea party movement.
“Through the tea parties, there’s a good marketplace for us to tap into and hopefully many of them will choose to become Libertarians,” he told MBPN.
To regain party status in Maine, Libertarians would need to gather a total number of signatures equal to 5 percent of votes cast in the November election. If they succeed, Libertarian candidates could qualify for Clean Election funding, just like Republicans, Democrats and Greens.
Duke Harrington, Libertarian secretary, said Libertarians stand to capture some of the “politically homeless,” including those in the tea party movement.
In general, Libertarians favor individual rights, a fiscally responsible government and less government intrusion, putting them in closer alignment with Republicans than Democrats.
Tea partiers share those ideals. But they break with Libertarians on gay marriage (Libertarians support personal freedoms, while tea partiers want marriage to be between a man and a woman) and on sealing the national borders (Libertarians are less enthused by the idea).
Libertarians received ballot status briefly because independent gubernatorial candidate Andrew Adam gave his votes over to the Libertarian Party. But the party lost ballot status in 1992 when its presidential candidate, Andre Marrou, failed to capture 5 percent of the vote.