Day Eight 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.
Colorado businessman and insurance wholesaler Steve Kerbel was one of the surprisingly strong early candidates in the Libertarian Party’s 2016 presidential nomination cycle.
Although he drew support both from fans and opponents of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson before Johnson officially entered the race, Kerbel eventually dropped out citing health concerns, and endorsed Johnson.
Since then, he has pushed for a ballot initiative in Colorado that would seek to curtail “policing for profit.” By diverting fine revenue away from state and local governments – and instead give that money to either the victims, or to a registered charity – Kerbel hopes to end the financial incentive for excessive and arbitrary law enforcement.
Kerbel has been undertaking a serious organized effort to place his proposal on the ballot for the 2018 elections, including lobbying state legislators on their buy-in on the proposal.
Like his party’s platform, Kerbel sees the process of initiative and referendum as a way to bypass self-interested legislators to adopt needed reforms.
Kerbel’s career in insurance has also provided him with an additional reason to oppose government overreach, after legal troubles accumulated over what he insists were innocent and trivial technicalities. He remains an active member of the Colorado Libertarian Party, the party’s oldest founding affiliate and one of the more influential states in national intra-Libertarian politics.
But in a national election, Kerbel, who has expressed interest in running again, would suffer from relative obscurity. Still, he is one of the few candidates who could bring a dedicated base of volunteers to the party nominating contest. Like Larry Sharpe, he is one of relatively few people able to bridge the divide between the party’s radical and pragmatic wings.
The most likely scenario for Kerbel’s 2020 nomination would be something like what the late Dr. Marc Allan Feldman hoped to accomplish in 2016. In a crowded field, or one with several prominent controversial candidates, no person might exceed the required 50 percent of delegates.
(Photo of Steve Kerbel.)