The ninth annual Young Americans for Liberty National Convention saw a star studded lineup included Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky, plus Judge Andrew Napolitano, Larry Reed, David Boaz, and Matt Kibbe. Austin Petersen was also in attendance and participated in a debate style event.
The side-show included an embryonic Political Action Committee being launched by Charles Peralo, unWashington, wade into the thicket of the U.S. Senate battle in Missouri. This PAC, which has paid its filing fee but not yet completed its paperwork, spread hundreds of fliers with quotes from Austin Petersen around the dormitories where YAL attendees were staying during the convention.
Designed as sarcastic promotional material, the fliers followed campaign talking points with actual quotes from Petersen posted on his Facebook page, recorded during podcasts, or written in articles on his blog. Petersen is a former Libertarian Presidential candidate who is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. See below for an example of the flyer.
Peralo, a liberty activist, social media entrepreneur and former candidate for chair of the Libertarian National Committee in 2016, said that the PAC aims to be a force for promoting the liberty movement through pragmatic ideals.
The group’s website highlights innovation and “science in politics,” together with a focus on the new economy, addressing climate change, and promoting healthier lives.
“The PAC is trying to represent a new element of the liberty movement,” Peralo said in an interview with The Jack News.
In reference to the PAC’s negative targeting of Austin Petersen, Peralo said, “originally, we were going to lay low on the U.S. Senate race,” but with the recognition that two liberty-focused Republicans – Missouri House of Representatives Republican Paul Curtman and Missouri Attorney General Joshua Hawley — might enter the GOP primary, Peralo decided that he needed to become involved. He felt it was necessary to encourage liberty-minded activists to look elsewhere and not support Austin Petersen.
“Austin Petersen is a cyberbully who has never accomplished a single thing,” said Peralo in a harsh critique of why he is running the negative campaign. “I want the liberty movement to forget about him” and to focus on prospective candidates like Curtman and Hawley, or even Alicia Dearn.” A Libertarian, Dearn announced that she would explore a run, but has not filed any filing documents. Many in the liberty movement believe that Dearn’s quick announcement that she might be a candidate for the Missouri senate seat was an attempt to discredit Austin Petersen’s campaign.
In addition to the high-profile speeches and side-show canvassing, one of the debates at the event featured Petersen debating David Friedman on the merits of minarchism versus anarchism.
(Photo of Austin Petersen by Gage Skidmore used with permission)