News and Events

Maryland Libertarian Party applauds Baltimore’s top prosecutor’s decision to no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases

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Below is a press release issued by the Maryland Libertarian Party on January 30, 2019:

 

Maryland Libertarian Party applauds Baltimore’s top prosecutor’s decision to no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases

 

The Maryland Libertarian Party supports the decision of Marilyn Mosby, the State’s Attorney of the city of Baltimore, to no longer prosecute cases of marijuana possession.

“Like alcohol prohibition before it, the prohibition of cannabis has inflicted disastrous consequences on individuals and society. It has eroded civil liberties, fundamentally harmed the relations of police to the communities they are supposed to serve, and lead to the unjust and unequal treatment of people of color by the law,” said Eric Blitz, Legislative Director for the Maryland LP.

Mr. Blitz continued, “Ms. Mosby’s new policy will save countless lives and the political courage it took for her to announce this policy should be an example to Maryland legislators who can and should pass legislation to fully legalize cannabis for the entire state.”

Libertarians believe that a person should not be punished for what they consume or put in their body, only for crimes of physically harming a person or their property.

Further, minorities are treated much worse than whites when it comes to the War on Drugs, despite usage being equal.

The Libertarian Party has been against marijuana prohibition and the War on Drugs since its inception in 1971.

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Maryland LP Asks U.S. District Court for a Temporary Restraining Order to Prevent State from Removing Party from Voter Registration Forms

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From Ballot Access News on January 22, 2019:

“On January 22, the Maryland Libertarian Party asked a U.S. District Court to prevent the state from printing up new registration cards that omit the Libertarian Party as a choice, at least until the main issue in the party’s lawsuit is settled.

“The party went off the ballot in November 2018 because it didn’t poll 1% for Governor. However, the party has over 20,000 registered members.

“The lawsuit argues that the ballot retention law, as applied to a party in its position, is unconstitutional. The state says the party needs a petition of 10,000 signatures in order to get back on the ballot, but the party argues that it is not rational for the state to require the party to submit 10,000 signatures, when it is obvious that there are more than 10,000 voters in Maryland who want the party on the ballot.

“Clearly if a party has over 20,000 registered members, any petition to show that 10,000 voters want the party on the ballot is redundant.”

The case is Johnston v Lamone, 1:18cv-3988.

Election Night Party

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lpmd_smaller2018 candidate for Governor Shawn Quinn and the Maryland Libertarian Party will be hosting an election night party at the Savage Fire Hall, 8521 Corridor Road in Savage, MD 20763, from 8 to 11:30 pm.

Tickets are $26 per person, and include:

  • DJ and a band
  • Bourbon Street meatballs
  • Red beans and rice
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Turkey
  • Fruit tray
  • Vegetable tray
  • Cheese and cracker tray
  • Cake
  • Open bar

Click here to purchase your ticket.

Baltimore Sun article on Libertarian and Green Party gubernatorial candidates

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Shawn Quinn
Shawn Quinn

The Baltimore Sun featured the Libertarian and Green Party candidates for Governor, Shawn Quinn and Ian Schlakman, on October 26.

Click here to read the article.

Gubernoratorial candidate Shawn Quinn interviewed by Maryland Reporter

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marylandreporterlogo1Maryland Libertarian Party candidate for Governor Shawn Quinn was interviewed by Len Lazarick of Maryland Reporter, which was posted on October 8:

“Shawn Quinn waited patiently for over an hour Saturday morning for his chance to address a nearly empty hall at St. John Baptist church in Columbia.

“There were barely two dozen people in the 120 seats at the candidates forum by the African American Coalition of Howard County when the Libertarian candidate for governor briefly laid out his platform of lower taxes and school choice.

“He said in a brief interview afterward he is often the only candidate for governor to show up at the many forums he is invited to.

“This is Quinn’s second run for governor. He got 25,382 votes in 2014, the highest vote tally a Libertarian candidate had ever achieved in Maryland, losing of course to Republican Larry Hogan.

“Quinn, 56, is a 20-year Navy veteran and a truck driver. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Montgomery County and currently lives in Lusby, Calvert County.

“‘I plan on changing a lot of policies,’ Quinn told the forum.

“He wants to cut Maryland’s sales tax in half to 3%, and eliminate all income taxes on retirees.

“He favors ‘100% school choice,’ having the education dollars follow the student to any public or private school they wish to attend — in essence a total voucher system.

“He says he was the first candidate in 2014 to be discuss the environmental problems from the Conowingo power dam on the Susquehanna River.

“Quinn is a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment rights of gun-owners, and in fact, was rushing off Saturday to a bowling pin shoot out at a local gun range. He says Gov. Hogan has completely lost the support of 2nd Amendment advocates by his signing of the red flag law, allowing guns to be taken from people who might be a danger to themselves or others, and legislation banning bump stocks that can turn rifles into automatic weapons.

“Quinn denies that voting for him is a wasted vote. ‘You should be voting for the best people to do the job,’ he said.

“‘Even if we lose, it’s going to be a blast,” he said.

Click here to read the full article.

Maryland LP US House candidate featured on Maryland Matters blog

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Behind-the-Scenes Player Takes Unconventional Path Into Politics

September 23, 2018

by Josh Kurtz

A year ago, David Lashar was a high-ranking bureaucrat at the Maryland Department of Health, a faceless if important cog in the Hogan administration who has also worked in the tech sector and on Capitol Hill.

But on this night, Lashar is the center of attention in an opulent Potomac living room, with a nationally known political maverick on hand to endorse his most audacious career move.

The living room belongs to Sam Malhotra, another former Hogan administration official and tech executive. And the celebrity political endorser is ex-Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld, whose most recent foray into politics was as the 2016 Libertarian nominee for vice president.

Lashar is now the Libertarian candidate for Congress in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District, running against six-term Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D) and Republican Charles Anthony, an Army veteran who has been all but invisible on the campaign trail.

Libertarian congressional candidate David Lashar speaks at a campaign event in Potomac last week. Photo by Josh Kurtz

“It’s a formidable task,” Lashar concedes during an interview in Malhotra’s kitchen the other night, before he addresses the 40 supporters who are mingling and munching nearby. “It’s a big peak to climb. But I’m definitely enjoying it.”

Lashar’s decision to run for Congress roughly traces his own disillusionment with the two-party system.

“I tried to become the candidate I was seeking but not finding,” he says.

After years as a Republican policy professional – most recently as the chief information officer and then chief of staff and chief operating officer at Hogan’s Health Department – Lashar watched in dismay as his preferred presidential candidate in 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was rejected by Republican voters and faced great hostility from certain party leaders.

“If that’s how the Republican Party feels about a candidate like that now, that’s how the Republican Party feels about me,” Lashar remembers thinking. “I think we need a multi-party system. That was my ‘aha!’ in 2017.”

Lashar switched parties in February and became a candidate a few months later, after leaving the Hogan administration. “The Libertarian Party has a set of principles that allows for a lot of interpretation on issues,” he says.

Lashar argues for a more socially tolerant and fiscally responsible government. His literature highlights four guiding principles: liberty, accountability, justice and prosperity.

“I wanted him as a candidate after talking to him for 30 seconds,” says Bob Johnston, the state party chairman.

Lashar also attracted the attention of Weld; they were introduced by syndicated columnist George F. Will, a mutual friend, and they bonded further when they discovered that Lashar had been a classmate of one of Weld’s nephews in the Russian Studies program at Dartmouth College.

“He’s a really good candidate,” Weld tells Maryland Matters. “The guy’s really serious-minded. He’s not shallow. And his attitude is perfect. As a Libertarian, you have to be” realistic.

Weld’s journey says a lot about the state of American politics – and it informs Lashar’s candidacy to a degree. He was elected governor as a moderate Republican in 1990 following an unsuccessful run for state attorney general, several years as U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, and a brief stint as a high-ranking official in the Reagan administration Justice Department.

Weld was reelected overwhelmingly in 1994; lost a bid for U.S. Senate against Democrat John Kerry in 1996 in a campaign that was widely praised for its high-mindedness; then resigned as governor in 1997 after he was nominated by President Clinton to become U.S. ambassador to Mexico. But his nomination was held up by right-wing U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), and he eventually withdrew.

Weld ran for governor of New York in 2006, but dropped out before the GOP primary after being outmaneuvered by party conservatives and failing to get the official designation of the state party. He re-emerged to run for vice president in 2016, with former New Mexico Republican Gov. Gary Johnson at the top of the Libertarian ticket.

These days, Weld, 74, is traveling around the country, speaking at state Libertarian conventions and boosting Libertarian candidates as a prelude to a possible presidential bid in 2020.

Like Lashar and other third-party and independent candidates – including Neal Simon, the businessman who is spending heavily on an independent U.S. Senate bid in Maryland – Weld sees a great hunger from voters for alternatives to the two-party system.

“The question is how genuine, how broad is the appetite for the third party?” he says.

Weld acknowledges that the Libertarian Party is not perfect, and often gets defined in the media by its fringe elements — or as he puts it, “the 36 people at the Libertarian convention who want to hold sex toys aloft.” But he says the fact that the party has hundreds of thousands of volunteers nationwide and ballot access in all 50 states makes it a potent force from which to build a movement.

A David Lashar campaign T-shirt. Photo by Josh Kurtz

“I’m in favor of the Democrats winning the House this year,” he adds. “It’s a crack in the monopoly.”  Later, Weld tells the crowd, “I think the odds of a third party winning in 2020 are better than the odds of Donald Trump winning.”

But challenges abound for candidates like Lashar. He’s raised about $30,000 for his campaign – Sarbanes had more than $1.2 million on hand as of June 30. It’s hard to go door-to-door in such a sprawled out district that takes in portions of Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties.

In fact, Lashar says he’s having a hard time convincing the League of Women Voters and other civic groups to host candidate forums in part because the district is so spread out. Small wonder he’s selling T-shirts that say, “Slay the Gerrymander” at his campaign events.

But Lashar believes the Libertarian message, which he distills to “the sanctity and dignity of the individual,” can prevail.

“It’s an educated and persuadable district,” he says.

David Lashar’s campaign website:   Lashar2018.us

MDLP gubernatorial and US House 1st candidate event Saturday on Kent Island

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Upper Eastern Shore Libertarians's photo.

Maryland Libertarian Party candidate for Governor Shawn Quinn and US House first congressional candidate Jenica Martin will appear at the Queen Anne’s County Library on Saturday, September 15, from  2 to 4 pm.

The library is located at 200 Library Circle, Stevensville, MD 21666.

Click here for the map and directions.