Because of his conservative past and relatively recent switch from the GOP, Barr is viewed with suspicion or hostility by many longtime LP members. At the North Carolina state party convention last month, Barr got only one vote in a straw poll that was won handily by (longtime LP activists Mary) Ruwart. (Noting that Ruwart had been active for many years in the North Carolina LP before moving to Texas, one libertarian wit dubbed the Tarheel State “Ruwartistan.”)
Under the rules governing the Libertarian nomination process, with unpledged delegates chosen by state party conventions, no candidate is expected to have a first-ballot majority. The field will be winnowed down as candidates are eliminated, with their supporters shifting to the remaining candidates.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” the anonymous Barr operative said, but added that he expects a “bloody fight” in Sunday’s vote, possibly stretching into “the wee hours” of Monday morning.
(Georgia LP Chair Daniel) Adams said he expects the contest to be waged between Libertarian “purists” who fault Barr for his conservatism and “pragmatists” who see the benefit of nominating a nationally known candidate with proven political ability. That ability will be tested in Denver, where the Barr campaign — which has raised more than $100,000 according to the campaign’s official website — plans to field a team of floor managers and whips to gather delegates.
Many have assumed Bob Barr would easily win the Libertarian Party’s Presidential nomination this week, but it’s not a forgone conclusion. As Robert Stacey McCain points out in this article, Barr’s candidacy presents the LP with a tough choice.