LP Radical Caucus
with Susan Hogarth, James Gholston
Libertarian Party of Virginia
Marc Montoni is a longtime leader and activist within the Libertarian Party. He is a life member who began paying dues in 1980.
He has served at least twice as chair of the Libertarian Party of Virginia (circa 1987 and 2001-2002), as Virginia secretary (circa 1998 and circa 2007 until 2016), on the LNC staff (1989-1993, and as an occasional temp in the 1999-2001 period), as Colorado vice-chair (2018), and as LNCC database manager.
He has written many guides, such as one for starting up a county or city party from nothing in Virginia and maintains a blog, Free Virginia.
Introduction to the Libertarian Party
Montoni cites a high school friend named Willie Ferguson as his first push towards libertarianism. Montoni described Ferguson as "a full-scholarship-to-Princeton and off-the-scale IQ-holder (as in "MAXED OUT" on IQ tests) high school buddy who handed him a book entitled The Fountainhead while saying, 'Here, Montoni, I think you'll like this.'"
Montoni said the read ultimately prepared him for the five-minute Ed Clark for President campaign commercial the night before the election, 1980.
Montoni subsequently called the number on the screen, "got on the list, never left it".
Mid-80's, Montoni says he picked Jim Turney's brain for many hours about applied libertarianism; then went a lot further up the scale on his own. He now describes himself as "off the scale, now."
Montoni received a call from a woman at Libertarian Party Headquarters in Washington DC a few days after his initial phone call in November 1980, and was referred to the then-chairman of the Virginia affiliate, Jerry Sklute. Montoni phoned Sklute and began showing up for newsletter mailing parties in 1981.
The Virginia affiliate effectively fell apart after an extremely well-attended state convention in 1981, and Montoni concentrated on college, employment, and American Motors car hobby.
Beginning in about 1983, Montoni started becoming curious as to what had happened to the party he had joined, and began working part-time with fellow Libertarian Turney. As time went on and the ballot drive in Virginia to get David Bergland on the state ballot failed, Montoni began thinking of ways to revive activity. The main choice was to revive the state party newsletter. Later in 1983, Montoni produced his first state party newsletter, with the help of Turney and International Society for Individual Liberty ("ISIL") principal Vince Miller, a Canadian libertarian who was then residing in Montoni's home town of Richmond, VA.
Montoni maintained some connection with the editorship of the newsletter until the last issue he published, which was the January/February 2014 issue.
Ballot Drive Planning
One of the state party policies that Montoni championed for well over three decades was that the state party should set aside money every year to spend during presidential ballot drive years on hiring paid petitioners to help with the drives. Montoni fought for saving the money in the face of many demands against the growing funds set aside every cycle. As it turned out, thriftiness paid off every four years -- the Virginia party never had sufficient volunteer signature contributions to make it on the ballot; so hiring professionals turned out to be necessary every time. The state party successfully met the difficult Virginia ballot requirements in every presidential election after 1984.
Libertarian Party Headquarters Employment
In 1989, Montoni became an employee of National Headquarters in Washington DC. He was employed there from 1980 to March 1993.
One of the great pleasures of his employment there was the ability to plan, organize, or attend Libertarian events in the DC area; and one of the cappers for Montoni was organizing several campaign appearances of Andre Marrou in Northern Virginia and DC. As a surprise for Marrou, Montoni hired a limousine to take Marrou to his campaign rally. It was a proud moment for Marrou -- Montoni recounted that Marrou was very emotional when he stepped into the car and that it was the only time anyone had provided him with such a ride during the entire campaign. At the other end of the ride, Montoni made sure his friends were waiting to greet the man who had put his life on hold for Libertarian ideas.
Patrick Henry Supper Club
Montoni revamped the "Richmond Libertarians" affiliate in 1995, after returning to Richmond full-time. He changed the name of the meetings to "Patrick Henry Supper Club". Montoni introduced the group as a project of the Metro Richmond Libertarians, while emphasizing that it was primarily a social activity intended to spur more Libertarian activity in the area. Over time he built the group from a half-dozen regulars to a room-filling 25 to 35 in attendance every month. Montoni scheduled a variety of speakers, including Jim Lark, Jacob Hornberger, Christopher Horner, Dana Johansen, and many others.
Election to Public Office
In 2001, he was elected to public office, serving as a Director on the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District. He served until moving from the area in 2004.
Membership Building and Fundraising
From 1996 to 2016, Montoni worked extensively on building LP membership, citing his record of personally recruiting more than 1200 new or renewal memberships. In 2018 he explained why he stopped in an IPR article entitled Admitting My Error, noting that the Libertarian Party has recruited too many people who don't understand what it means to be libertarian.
Radical Caucus Activity
Montoni is a co-founder of the current Radical Caucus.
In 2006, as a response to the Portland Massacre (the removal of most of the planks of the National Platform), Marc Montoni, Susan Hogarth, and Morey Straus formed the Caucus. From 2017 to 2018, Montoni and Susan Hogarth held board seats under the title of "Founder" under the 2017 caucus bylaws. Both were re-elected as those seats converted to at-large. Montoni has served twice as chair of the Radical Caucus under these bylaws (2016 and 2018); and at present (2019) serves as an At-Large director on its national board.