|Jeri Dobbin (left) looked on as her husband, former congressman Bob Barr, accepted the presidential nomination. (Will Powers/Associated Press)|
DENVER - The Libertarian Party yesterday picked former Republican representative Bob Barr to be its presidential candidate after six rounds of balloting.
Barr was victorious over Mary Ruwart, a research scientist who also sought the party's presidential nominee unsuccessfully in 1983, on the final ballot. The vote was 324 to 276.
He endorsed Wayne Allyn Root, who was eliminated in the fifth round, to be his vice-presidential nominee.
Barr, 59, left the GOP in 2006 over what he called bloated spending and civil liberties intrusions by the Bush administration.
The former representative from Georgia said he is in the race to win. "I do not view the role of the Libertarian Party to be a spoiler and I certainly have no intention of being a spoiler," he said.
Barr said he expects the party to be on the ballot in at least 48 states and perhaps all 50 if the party can qualify in West Virginia and Oklahoma. Barr said he also hopes to take part in the national political debates by qualifying with poll support of 15 percent or more of registered voters.
Yesterday's election also marked the end of the latest chapter in the political career of former senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, who recently dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.
"I just ended my political career," he said. "From 15 years old to now, my political career is over, and it's no big deal. I'm a writer, I'm a lecturer, I'm going to push the issues of freedom and liberty. I'm going to push those issues until the day I die."
Gravel left the Democratic Party after he was excluded from some Democratic debates because he failed to meet fund-raising or polling thresholds. He said the Democratic Party no longer represented his values because it continues to sustain the Iraq war, the military-industrial complex, and imperialism.
Barr, who represented a district north of Atlanta, was first elected to Congress in 1994 and served four terms. He received national prominence for his role in Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings.
He was defeated in 2002 after Georgia's Democratic-controlled Legislature put him in a district in which he had to oppose John Linder, a popular Republican incumbent.
After leaving office, Barr has promoted Libertarian causes by giving speeches and writing articles for Creative Loafing and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.