It's no secret that I've been a registered Libertarian, and a member of the Libertarian Party, for a number of years. Our political philosophy is pretty straightforward: reduce the size and scope of the government to allow people the greatest opportunity to pursue health, wealth, property, and happiness. We want the government out of our bedrooms, out of our boardrooms, and out of our pockets.
While about 16% of the American population identify themselves with libertarian beliefs, only about 1% of us are actually registered to vote as Libertarians, and even fewer of us are active in our state or local party structure. In many cases, this means that we trade off positions as party officers and (since we are a political party) candidates for office.
Given this environment, it was never a question of whether someone would recruit me to run for office, but rather a question of when, and for which office.
That said, it was still a surprise out of nowhere when, about two weeks ago, I got a call from one of our active members and frequent candidates, who needed a running mate. For Lieutenant Governor. The second-highest political position in the state. It's a fairly new position — current Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno is the first person to occupy that position. (Previously, the President of the State Senate performed those tasks as necessary.)
While most of the initial shock has worn off, and the likelihood of having to learn a complex new business in a very short time is quite low, it still sits in the back of my head, until the next thing Ken (Kaplan, our gubernatorial candidate) needs me to do for our campaign. And hope it doesn't backfire, the way his asking me to include my activity in STARFLEET in my curriculum vitae did (the local newsradio announcer basically figured we might be an option for "the Trekkie vote" and couldn't quite get off that point).
Other than that, the best it's gotten me is a quick rejoinder to a political pollster asking me if I would be supporting (Republican) Governor Christie or (Democratic) State Senator Barbara Buono for governor this fall.
"No," I answered.
"'No' to Christie, 'no' to Buono, or both?" she asked.
"I am the Lieutenant Governor candidate for the Libertarian Party."
I guess I'll be learning a lot more about the electoral process between now and November.