1998 State Convention. April 2-4, 1998. East Lansing, Michigan
East Lansing Marriott, East Lansing
EAST LANSING. The Libertarian Party of Michigan held its annual convention at the Marriot hotel in East Lansing the weekend of April 4 and 5. Michigan’s largest “minor” party nominated a total of 93 candidates for the November 3 election.
The slate is headed by State Board of Education candidates Diane Barnes and Jon Coon. The two represent the party’s “Top-of-Ticket” under Michigan election law. It is success in this race upon which maintaining Libertarian Party ballot status depends.
Diane Barnes, well known in education circles for her support of home schooling and her opposition to fads such as ‘Outcomes-Based Education’ and ‘Goals 2000,’ was one of the LPM’s candidates for this same office in the ’96 election. She received more than 150,000 votes in that election which, had she rather than Harry Browne (the party’s presidential candidate that year) been the top-of-ticket, was not only enough to keep the party on the ballot, but nearly enough to elevate it to so-called “major party” status.
Jon Coon was the party’s 1994 candidate for United States Senate. Undoubtedly the highest profile Libertarian Party candidate in Michigan history, Mr. Coon, a former home-schooler also very concerned about education issues but most well known as a strong proponent of gun rights, organized a campaign rally on the east lawn of the Capitol building for his ’94 Senate bid that drew 10,000 supporters. His vote total in that race was also a mere fraction of one percent short of the 5% needed to raise the LP to major party status in Michigan.
“We are offering voters some terrific candidates for public office,” said party chairman, Tim O’Brien, who was re-elected to that office at the same convention. “Not only Diane and Jon, but our entire slate. These are a dedicated and patriotic group of men and women who understand the principles upon which legitimate government is founded,” he concluded. “If the public really has had enough of having to choose between ‘the lesser of two evils’ as so many tell pollsters, perhaps they are finally ready to consider a genuine alternative and take a much closer look at the Libertarian Party candidates.”