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Libertarians Nominate Browne

July 3, 2000

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ The Tennessee investment banker who represented the Libertarian Party four years ago has been selected to run again for the presidency.

Harry Browne acknowledged he has scant chance of ever moving into the White House, but the 67-year-old Nashville man said he hoped his campaign would reinvigorate his ailing party.

The more than 1,000 Libertarians meeting Sunday at the party’s national convention nominated Browne and former Bellflower, Calif., mayor Art Olivier as the vice presidential candidate.

``We’re the only political party that’s offering to set you free,″ said Browne, who didn’t vote before 1992, when his wife suggested he run for the nation’s top office. ``It’s the most powerful political message in the world.″

The Libertarian Party, which advocates individual liberties over expansive and expensive government programs, claims 30,000 dues-paying members.

The party calls itself the most viable alternative to the Republicans and the Democrats, but has lacked the vote-getting power of either the Reform or the Green party. Browne finished fifth in 1996 with 473,000 votes. Party leaders hope to more than double that number this year.

Browne, author of a dozen books including, ``How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World,″ advocates a 12-step program he says will do away with income taxes, Social Security, the war on drugs and federal welfare.

He topped a field that included Don Gorman of Deerfield, N.H., a former four-term New Hampshire state legislator; Barry Hess, a salesman from Phoenix; David Hollist, a charter bus driver from Alta Loma, Calif.; and Jacob Hornberger, president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, a libertarian think tank in Fairfax, Va.

Browne finished with 493 of the 878 delegate votes. A ``none of the above″ vote was allowed, and that option got 23 votes.

Olivier beat three other vice presidential contenders, and needed a runoff vote to squeak past Steve Kubby of Squaw Valley, Calif., the Libertarians’ 1998 candidate for California governor.

Kubby, a backer of the medical marijuana law Californians’ passed in 1996, made headlines last year when he and his wife were arrested on drug charges after authorities found 300 marijuana plants in their home. A trial is pending.

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