(CNSNews.com) - The Libertarian Party nominated a presidential candidate on Sunday, and party officials said he "could attract enough votes from angry conservatives to cost President Bush his job."
The nominee is 49-year-old Michael Badnarik, a computer programmer from Austin, Tex., who has worked on defense-related projects.
Badnarik won the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination with 54 percent of the vote at the Party's national convention in Atlanta over the holiday weekend.
A Libertarian Party press release said Badnarik's victory was considered a shock because he had been beaten in the polls and primaries by two other candidates -- movie producer Aaron Russo and radio talk show host Gary Nolan.
"According to many undecided delegates, Badnarik's superior performance in the Saturday debates propelled him ahead of the other candidates," the press release said.
Badnarik, in his acceptance speech, said he would keep his campaign focused on the Constitution -- and forcing the government to abide by it.
According to the Libertarian Party, various political analysts say that frustrated conservatives may swing their votes away from President Bush to the Libertarian Party in 2004.
The Libertarians quote David Paul Kuhn, the chief political writer for CBSNews.com, who wrote in a May 21 article, "While Democrats fret over the possibility of Ralph Nader causing them to lose another election by stealing votes on the left, President Bush may face an even greater third-party threat from the right wing. The Libertarian nominee could cost Mr. Bush his job in 2004."
Kuhn reportedly said Libertarian nominee Badnarik "could be the Ralph Nader of 2004." He said Badnarik could attract enough conservative votes in Wisconsin, Oregon, and Nevada to affect the outcome of the presidential race.
The Libertarian Party says its presidential ticket received 382,892 popular votes in 2000. It also notes it ran 1,430 candidates in 2000 -- more than twice as many as all the other third parties combined.
"We fielded candidates for 255 of the 435 seats in the U.S. House, as well as 25 of the 33 Senate seats up for election, making the Libertarian Party the first third party in 80 years to contest a majority of the seats in Congress," the Libertarians' website says.
The Libertarians say they believe in a "free-market economy and the abundance and prosperity it brings; a dedication to civil liberties and personal freedom that marks this country above all others; and a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace, and free trade as prescribed by America's founders."
The party also advocates the legalization of marijuana and other drugs; the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education; "free and open" immigration; personal retirement accounts; the right of self-defense; smaller government; and lower taxes.
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