Political Highlights

After New York Race, Larry Sharpe Might Seek 2020 Libertarian Nomination

Day Six of the Jack News Guide to the Libertarian Party Presidential Race in 2020.

Editor’s Note: The introduction to this series includes links to each of the nine profiles.

A business consultant and small-business owner from Queens, New York, Larry Sharpe has quickly become one of the most popular new figures on the Libertarian Party scene through his frequent use of live videos and other social media promotions.

In a party whose members sometimes struggle to find their public-speaking voice, Sharpe prides himself on his ability to connect with people and advocate persuasively for Libertarian ideals.

Announcing his candidacy for the vice presidential slot shortly before the 2016 nominating convention in central Florida, Sharpe proved to be the wild card in the dramatic fight over nominating Bill Weld to be the candidate to join Gary Johnson on the presidential ticket.

Sharpe secured second place on the first ballot and most of the other candidates dropped out to endorse him. Despite emotions that ran high, once the result was decided Sharpe was unqualified in his support of the Johnson-Weld ticket, and joined Weld on-stage at a New York rally.

Since the Battle of Orlando, Sharpe secured a seat on the party’s national committee. He also announced his candidacy for governor of New York in 2018. He straddles the line between the party’s more radical and more pragmatic wings; while he has clashed with both, he’s gained fairly wide respect among the party’s grassroots volunteers.

While Libertarians, including Sharpe himself, are generally loathe to play “identity politics,” nominating an African-American could also have some appeal for Libertarians who would like to have better outreach towards an historically underrepresented demographic within the party. The LP may be eager to dispel its monochromatic stereotype.

But as with some of the other potential candidates, Sharpe would face an uphill battle in convincing delegates to pick somebody relatively unknown outside of party circles.

Much attention would likely focus on the results of his 2018 campaign. A key threshold, though modest, would be winning more than 50,000 votes and thus securing ballot status for the Libertarian Party of New York.

If he over-performs expectations and wins five percent or more, the case for giving him the 2020 nomination would be much stronger. For the time being, Sharpe is focused on running for governor, and is quick to shoot down the widespread speculation about his intentions for 2020.

(Image via screenshot of Larry Sharpe speaking during the 2016 Libertarian Party National Convention.)


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