Reason Profiles West Virginia Libertarian Senate Candidate John Buckley


(The following was originally published in Reason.)

John Buckley, cousin to William F. Buckley, had a long personal background in Republican Party and conservative movement politics, including a stint running Young Americans for Freedom in the 1970s. He won a state legislative seat in Virginia in 1979. He lost his seat after one term and says that “by the early ‘90s I had soured on the Republican Party as a vehicle for expressing my political principles”—not because his principles had changed that much, or even that the Party’s lip service stated principles had, but that no Republicans seemed to act on the free-market side of their message.

After retiring from many years as an official with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Buckley is running for Senate this year from West Virginia, where he has a home with his same-sex partner, with the Libertarian Party. The Washington Post recognized the race as one of seven nationally where the L.P. could be a player.

West Virginia is a state where the L.P. has, for now, ballot access without the need for expensive and morale-wrecking ballot access campaigns, thanks to the over-one-percent pull of their last gubernatorial candidate in 2012, David Moran. Buckley was nominated by the Party at a state convention in March. As usual with third party candidates, he admits big fundraising is still a chicken-and-egg problem of attention, and can only hope he gets included in multi-candidate debates in the fall.

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