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Libertarians struggle in mobilizing resources

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Indiana residents gathered Thursday night to discuss ways to mobilize support in Marion County for the Libertarian Party and its candidate for governor, Rupert Boneham. There was low turnout at the initial callout meeting with only eight individuals in attendance; out of which, three were staff members. Those present at the meeting blamed the unexpected, low turnout on the 100-degree temperatures this week.

Coming in as a third party candidate, Boneham has found himself at a disadvantage when it comes to financial and human resources. Chris Spangle, executive director of the Libertarian Party in Indiana, said Boneham has generated record-success for the state party when it comes to media coverage and donations. However, even with the amount of interest already shown by Indiana residents, the campaign is still in need of volunteers and better mobilization in Marion County.

"There's a ton of need [for volunteers]. Mike Pence hires companies to campaign for him. We're grassroots focused," Spangle said.

Boneham's campaign efforts have started to pick up speed recently. He's currently attending county fairs, traveling around the state in his RV and devoting an average of six days a week to his campaign. Jason Sipe, director of the Libertarian Party in Marion County, said the campaign is kicking off into a more active phase.

While efforts are picking up on the campaign trail, the team hasn't garnered enough support to accomplish campaign ideas such as phone banks. Most of the staff is multitasking with answering phone calls while also making campaign material such as buttons and t-shirts.

Most of the fundraising comes from sales of the tie-dyed t-shirts, some of which are made by Rupert and his family. The team is currently raising more money in order to conduct an independent poll with Atlas Liberty. Spangle said it was difficult finding an impartial poll that didn't favor the old parties.

Rupert Boneham speaks with individuals who stayed after the meeting. Members of the community, along with Libertarian staff, met at Boneham's headquarters to discuss ways to mobilize support in Marion County. - SARAH SHEAFER
  • Sarah Sheafer
  • Rupert Boneham speaks with individuals who stayed after the meeting. Members of the community, along with Libertarian staff, met at Boneham's headquarters to discuss ways to mobilize support in Marion County.

The team is also planning on having a booth at the Indiana State Fair with Boneham present everyday. This is a big step for the Libertarian Party.

"It's the first time we've had a booth at the State Fair," Spangle said. "People are generally more interested in fried butter at the State Fair, but this year, we have some interesting candidates to bring people in."

While the Libertarian Party has garnered significant interest, some individuals are wary about the party's chances at winning elections.

"We get tagged for stealing Democrat votes or Republican votes, but those votes don't belong to any particular party. Rupert is a unique candidate who will appeal to a large number of people," Spangle said. "The old parties are old for a reason. They're worn out."

Despite concerns raised over the potential success of the Libertarian Party in Indiana, Boneham said he is confident in the party's growth.

"The Libertarian Party is growing because more and more of us are standing up and being counted," Boneham said. "Things do not change overnight. Things change in steps and we are in the middle of a big step."

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