History of the Libertarian Party of New York
This is the history of the Libertarian Party of New York, which was founded in 1972.
The Libertarian Party was established in 1971 and soon after many states started to work to form state parties. In New York, the party became known as the "Free Libertarian Party." On April 22, 1972, the first meeting of the New York Libertarian was held at the Williams Club, in which Ed Clark was elected Temporary Chair. Two committees were formed to prepare for the organization of the affiliate. At the May 1973 meeting, more officers were elected: Melvin Hirshowitz and Jerome Klasman as Vice-Chairs and Raymond Goldfield as Treasurer. On July 16, 1972, Clark stepped down as Chair and Klasman took his place. In turn, Howard Rich took the vacant Vice-Chair position. Andrea Millen and Samuel Edward Konkin III joined as At-Large members on the same day.
In the June—July 1972 edition of The Libertarian Forum, Murray Rothbard reported that he joined the Academic Advisory Board for the party. Founding members of the party include Edward and Alicia Clark and Jerome J. Klasman. Clark served as the Temporary State Chairman as early as April 1972, when Guy Riggs was running for State Assembly, as one of the first Libertarian candidates in the state. Two other Libertarians ran as candidates in 1972: Walter Block for State Assembly and Gary Greenberg for U.S. House.
In late October, Riggs suspended his campaign after he received only 900 out of the required 1,500 petition signatures to get on the ballot. It was reported that his campaign received nationwide attention including a network radio commentary. Riggs' campaign committee went on to form the Mid Hudson Libertarian Club. The first meeting of the Mid Hudson Libertarian Club was held in late September 1972. By this time, Jerome J. Klasman was Temporary State Chair and was guest speaker to the club's first meeting. From this club, Sanford Cohen announced in candidacy for U.S. House for the 25th congressional district in January 1973. The club continued to hold regular meetings throughout the early-to-mid 1970s.
1973: Founding Convention
The Free Libertarian Party held its founding convention on the weekend of March 29—April 1, 1973 at the Williams Club in Manhattan. Rothbard gives an account of the convention in the April 1973 edition of The Libertarian Forum. The following is an excerpt describing his observations of the people, reporting that there were about 95 in attendance:
"To end the suspense, dear reader. I entered the Williams Club a hopeful skeptic and emerged, exhausted but enthusiastic, forty-eight hours later a celebrant. To my joyful surprise, here was a group of men and women almost all intelligent, dedicated, and knowledgeable about liberty. Here, despite a predictably wide spectrum of temperaments and ideologies, despite occasional emotional hassles, yes despite a twelve (or was it thirteen) hour session on amending the by-laws, here was a group of attractive and intelligent young people who almost literally exuded a spirit of warmth, love, and respect for each other and for the common cause. It was truly a sight to behold. At the risk of being maudlin, I affirm that it was indeed a privilege to be present at the creation of the Free Libertarian Party of New York.
As we shall see further below, the “instincts” of this rather large group of people (approximately 95) were remarkably sound: a blend of high libertarian principle and good common sense and mutual respect that is all too rare in or out of the Movement. And these were Real People; gone was the old predominance of hophead kids, stoned out of their minds and mumbling about “freedom”. These were young people with feet on the ground, who do things, who work in the world: scholars, engineers, television people, advertising men, civil servants. I would say that the typical FLP member is an ex-Objectivist with none of the unfortunate personality traits of the latter, who has been moving rapidly into, or on the edge of, anarcho-capitalism. But both the anarcho-capitalists and the sizable minority of limited archists (or “minarchists”, to use the happy phrase of Sam Konkin), showed a happy willingness to work together for the large spectrum of common ends.
And then, wonder of wonders to a veteran of the New York movement, there was actually a sizable number of girls at the Convention, ranging moreover from attractive to ravishing (and if this be Male Chauvinism, then make the most of it!) It was also a standing wry joke in the New York movement that the proportion of females ranged from zero to somewhere around one per cent: surely this new quantum leap is a fine omen for the growth and success of the movement. Furthermore, I had personally met no more than a dozen of the delegates before — and this in a movement whose members for a long while barely spilled over the confines of a small living room!"
The party went on to adopt a set of bylaws and then discussed adopting a party platform. The platform committee was presented with what Rothbard referred to as a "Randian archist platform" by Paul Hodgson. To offset this, the anarchists submitted a minority platform. However, neither platform gained any traction and it was decided to move forward with no state platform. The following day, April 1, 1973, state officers were elected. Andrea Millen, a TV producer, was elected Chair. Howard Rich, a candidate in Rockland County was elected Vice-Chair along with Dr. Raymond Strong, leader in the Brooklyn party. Mike Nichols was elected Secretary and Jerome J. Klasman was elected Treasurer. There were also three At-Large positions, and those elected were Gary Greenberg, an attorney, Samuel Edward Konkin III, Editor of New Libertarian Notes, and Joe Castrovinci.
The following candidates were chosen to run for the 1973 local elections in New York City: Fran Youngstein for Mayor, Bill Lawry for City Council President, Tom Avery for Comptroller, Louis Sicilia for Manhatton Borough President, Paul Streitz for City Council At-Large, Ray Goldfield for City Council, and Spencer Pinney for City Council.
In 1973, it ran a slate of candidates in the New York City municipal elections including Fran Youngstein for mayor and Gary Greenberg for Manhattan district attorney. The LPNY has run statewide candidates regularly since 1974 when its candidate for governor was Jerome Tuccille.
"It is a measure of the state of the Free Libertarian Party of New York that our marathon annual convention (March 29-31) was scarcely enough to finish the Party business. This despite a preceding Special Convention at which we wrangled over the party logo and chose delegates to the National Convention in Dallas in June, and despite the fact that the Convention began every morning promptly at 10:00 A. M. and lasted through special caucuses and post-mortems until after the bars closed at 3:00 A. M. Yet we concluded with no resolutions on issues and no platform. these being put back to yet another mini-convention at the end of April. Three conventions in two months begins to resemble the unfortunate and frenetic Peace and Freedom Party of 1968, which reached a crescendo of almost continuous conventioneering before its rapid demise."— The Libertarian Forum, April 1974
"Meanwhile. New York's Free Libertarian Party has had its annual spring convention. Your editor is living in California for the spring, and so was not able to attend, but from all reports the convention was almost remarkably smooth and harmonious, free of the factionalism and of the barely suppressed hysteria of the year before. In a personal triumph, the able but formerly widely attacked Gary Greenberg has been elected state chairman."— The Libertarian Forum, April 1975
At the 1976 State Convention, during the election of At-Large representatives, there were a number of people upset that Roy Childs was not elected At-Large. He had 18 votes, the winners had between 21 and 23 votes. As a result, Charles Blood resigned at convention, and so the next day they held another election. John Caulfield, who had 19 votes in the first election, won over Childs by a few votes. Seeing how this did not resolve the situation, Caulfield resigned, effective at adjournment, forcing a ballot fo the vacancy by mail. It seems that Mike Nichols may have ultimately won in that e-mail ballot.
Vice Chair Don Feder left the state, opening up a third vacancy on the State Committee for the year. Carl Hastings was elected to fill that vacancy. Hastings was an At-Large, so a vacancy was created, and Cheryl Blanchette took his place.
John Deane, the Chair of the State Party, resigned, and the vacancy was filled by Vice Chair, Ann Weill. With a vacancy in the Vice Chair spot, there was another election.
Carl Hastings was elected Chair in 1977, serving for 1 year. He was followed by Thomas Frederick, who served until his resignation and was succeed by Chuck Steber, who served until 1979. Former Chair Gary Greenberg was elected Chair once again in 1979, serving until 1982.
In the late 1970s/early 1980s, the party sued the Post Office.
In 1985, Bill McMillen was elected Chair and served 4 terms.
In 1986, no statewide candidates were nominated, as the party focused on building up the base before expending resources on a statewide petitioning drive.
In 1987, a new publication, Free New York, was created as a newsletter for the party.
In 1994, Howard Stern sought the Libertarian Party nomination for Governor of New York and won the nomination at the State Convention. However, he later dropped from the ticket due to his refusal to disclose his financial records. The nomination of Stern was controversial, in that supporters saw this as an opportunity for major party status, while others saw this as a threat to libertarian principles.
The 1998 State Convention was held in Poughkeepsie, where Christopher Garvey and Donald Silberger were nominated to head the Governor / Lt. governor's ticket. Conti and Goodman also ran for statewide offices. Bill McMillen and Ambassador Alan Keyes are candidates for U.S. Senate, and McMillen is given the nomination. Among the noted speakers at the convention included Sharon Harris, Michael Cloud, John Cushman, Ron Crickenberger, and Muni Savynon. Jim Harris was voted as the new state chair.
In July 1998, delegates from New York attended the national convention in Washington, D.C. David Bergland served as chair and Muni Savyon as Regional Representative. In August 1998, the LPNY handed over 27,862 signatures in Albany to get the statewide candidates on the ballot.
In 1999, David Harnett was elected Chair.
At the April 29, 2000 convention, Richard Cooper was elected Chair.
In 2003, John Clifton was elected Chair.
At the April 29, 2006 convention, Bill Weld sought the Libertarian Party's nomination for governor, but later declined. Cooper was once again elected Chair after Clifton served three terms.
In 2007, Jeff Russell was elected Chair.
In 2008, Eric Sundwall was elected Chair.
In 2009, Christopher Edes was elected Chair.
In 2010, Mark Axinn was elected Chair. Warren Redlich became the party's nominee for Governor, and secured over 48,000 votes, the closest the party had been to breaking the 50,000-vote threshold for ballot access.
In 2014, Mike McDermott became the party's nominee for Governor.
In April 2015, Mark Glogowski was elected chair, and there began a rapid growth of forming new county chapters, especially in Western New York, where Libertarian Party activity was not as active. The Chapter Development Committee was formed, in which Phil Ricci served as first chair, and Jim Rosenbeck took over later in the year. The effort in Western New York was led by Edward Garrett, Andrew Martin Kolstee, and Kim Ruff. The Erie County chapter was founded on July 18, the Niagara County chapter was founded on August 1, and the Chautauuqa County chapter was founded on October 3. In March 2016, the Livingston County chapter was founded under the leadership of Justin Dilgard, and later, the Onondaga County chapter was also founded under the leadership of Shawn Hannon.
In April 2016, the convention was held in New York City, in which a debate was hosted for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates. Gary Johnson, Austin Petersen, John McAfee, Marc Allan Feldman, Vermin Supreme were among those in the debates. Glogowski was re-elected Chair for a second term.
In November 2016, an in-person meeting was held in Binghamton, which was organzied by Rich Purtell. There, a proposal for a divisional structure was presented, among other things.
In May 2017, the LPNY adopted a Divisional Structure, which had been primarily modeled after Nevada's structure. This divided the committees into five categories. Mark Glogowski was appointed Administrative Director, Andrew Martin Kolstee was appointed Communications Director, Nate Dinet was appointed Outreach Director, Brian Waddell was appointed Political Director, and Gregg Fort was appointed Finance Director. A month later, Shawn Hannon took over as Outreach Director.
In April 2018, Larry Sharpe became the party's nominee for governor. He had begun his campaign in July 2017, running an active campaign across the state. Jim Rosenbeck was elected chair at that convention. A huge statewide petitioning effort was led by a small team consisting of Mark Axinn, Jim Rosenbeck, Tucker Coburn, Rich Purtell, and Andrew Martin Kolstee. Over 32,000 signatures were collected, and the statewide candidates were successfully placed on the ballot.
2018—2019: Major Party Status
Sharpe ran the most active campaign in the party's history, with many media appearances, events, a huge social media following, and a spot on the debate stage. On Election Day, he received over 95,000 votes, securing ballot access for the LPNY for the first time in its history.
An in-person meeting was held in Syracuse the weekend following Election Day. A Party Rules Subcommittee of 6 members was created under the Administrative Division to create a rules document that complies with Election Law. An additional 5 members were added to the committee, with Jim Rosenbeck appointed as chair. Following a series of discussions on different versions of rules, another committee led by Larry Sharpe and composed of 9 of the original 11 members was created. The new committee spent nearly every day working through the document to build a final version. The final version was filed with the New York State Board of Elections on December 24, 2018. The State Committee formally endorsed those rules on January 6, 2019. The rules created a Transition Committee, which was tasked with facilitating the transition from January 2019 until the spring 2019 convention.
After a modification of the rules, The Transition Committee was replaced by the Interim State Committee on February 10, 2019, which held meetings roughly twice per month and focused on developing local Interim County Organizations and vetting and approving candidates to receive certificates of nomination.
The 2019 convention was held on May 4—5, 2019. The convention elected new leadership of the existing corporation, in which Mark E. Glogowski was elected chair, and began to outline a vision for the future of repurposing the corporation. A meeting was held on May 5 with the new leadership, followed by the ISC meeting, in which the first Interim County Organizations were chartered along with the issuing of the first candidate certificates.
Following the convention, by late July 2019, a total of 20 Interim County Organizations were formed and numerous candidates were nominated. Several of the conventions featured Larry Sharpe as a speaker, as he continues to travel and speak on libertarianism and growing the party.
On Election Day 2019, several enrolled Libertarians were elected to public office.
In November 2019, at the Olean Libertarian Summit, the State Convention voted to dissolve the Free Libertarian Party, Inc. corporation. The evening prior, there was a Presidential debate consisting of several candidates.
On April 15, 2020, ISC Chair Jim Rosenbeck resigned and was suceeded by Tony D'Orazio as Chair. 2nd Vice-Chair Tucker Coburn became the 1st Vice-Chair. At a meeting of the Interim State Committee held on April 26, 2020, Andrew Kolstee was elected to the vacancy and Steve Minogue was elected 2nd Vice-Chair.
In September 2020, the first organization meeting was held virtually, with Cody Anderson elected chair.
The newly elected Executive Committee began meeting on a regular basis to facilitate the work of the party, from local affiliate development to fundraising to supporting candidates.