Larry Sharpe, 2018 New York Governor candidate and early favorite for Libertarian Party (LP) Presidential Nominee in 2020, has resigned his Libertarian National Committee (LNC) in protest. The news leaked across the libertarian community after Mr. Sharpe made a Facebook announcement late Friday. Previously, LNC members voted on the future of current LP Vice Chair Arvin Vohra. A large number wanted to remove him after his controversial statement on age of consent laws.
From Mr. Sharpe’s statement:
The recent reaction from the LNC has clarified for me that Arvin does fit on the LNC. Clearly, the one who does not belong is me. I accept responsibility for this and I will remedy this incongruity by immediately resigning as Region 8 alternate.
In addition to Sharpe, many libertarian members and leaders saw the comments as tone-deaf and demanded his removal.
The Friday night vote decided whether or not Vohra would be suspended from his position. The vote required a 2/3 majority to pass a resolution to suspend. However, it totaled an 8-8 split and Vohra retained his position. Leaders barely confirmed a secondary vote of censure with a total of 9-7.
Mr. Sharpe advocated for Vohra’s dismissal in recent weeks. Thus, after the stalemate vote was announced, Sharpe relieved himself of his LNC leadership duties. Following this, some suggested his time-consuming governor race was reason enough for his resignation. However, other members pointed to the split vote and Sharpe’s decisive action as representative of a growing ideological divide within the party.
Sharpe, a pragmatic radical, is well-known and well-liked amongst both the leadership and membership of the party, and his decision signals a clear protest of business as usual. With Mr. Sharpe poised as the clear favorite for the Libertarian Presidential nomination in 2020, his resignation could prove a major rallying cry for disenfranchised and frustrated libertarians who feel that leadership is out of touch with the movement’s base. However, Sharpe’s announcement does not mean he is leaving the Libertarian Party.
The Friday night split vote echoes sentiments within membership that has seen both support and condemnation for Vohra and the party itself in recent weeks. The motion also comes days after contentious debate amongst membership regarding Ron Paul’s alleged exclusion from a speaking role at this summer’s Libertarian National Convention. As with many issues inside the LP, coming to a consensus among membership is a herculean task. With the 2018 Libertarian National Convention only six months away, major shifts in the party’s leadership and ideology could be coming.
For more information visit Larry Sharpe’s website: larrysharpe.com
(Image from thinkliberty.com)