With no Libertarian in the race, historian Darcy Richardson, the Reform Party’s gubernatorial candidate in Florida, is making a play for that minor party’s voters.
This week, former Lake County School Board Chairman Randy Wiseman, who had been planning to run for governor this year as a Libertarian, threw his support to Richardson.
“Darcy Richardson is my choice for Florida governor this election,” Wiseman said on Monday. “Florida voters are eager to break the two-party rule and now is their chance.
“Darcy and the Reform Party of Florida have stepped up to the plate to give working families a voice,” Wiseman added. “I applaud their efforts.”
“I am humbled and very excited to have Randy Wiseman’s support in this campaign,” said Richardson. “We are building a powerful coalition of former Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and independents to challenge the status quo. Together we can give millions of forgotten Floridians a fighting chance for a better future!”
Wiseman isn’t the only former Libertarian candidate to throw his support behind Richardson in recent days. Last week, Paul Stanton, who had been the Libertarian candidate in the 2016 U.S. Senate race, backed Richardson. Stanton left the Libertarians in 2017 to become an independent.
“I was both surprised and excited to see Darcy Richardson take the third line in the governor’s race this year,” said Stanton. “Darcy’s experience and knowledge makes him the right candidate to challenge the status quo. I firmly support Darcy Richardson for Governor, and I hope to see more candidates like him in the future.”
“I am tremendously excited to have Paul’s support,” said Richardson. “This campaign is about fighting back against corruption, crony capitalism, and the big money special interests selling-out our state. Together we can give millions of forgotten Floridians a fighting chance for a better future!”
Joseph Wendt, the chairman of the Reform Party of Florida, insisted that his party was gaining traction thanks to Richardson’s campaign.
“The Reform Party of Florida embraces those willing to step it up a notch to make Florida better for working Americans,” said Wendt.“The Reform Party believes in building a coalition of the willing; of people who want a better Florida.”
Richardson, who lives in Jacksonville,is a familiar name to many activists and political junkies across the nation. Besides serving as the campaign manager for former U.S. Sen. Eugene McCarthy’s, D-Minn., independent presidential campaign in 1988, Richardson is an expert on third-party politics, having written a multivolume history on them and he also writes in various media outlets.
In 2016, Richardson ran for the Reform Party’s presidential nomination but he came up short at the convention, losing to businessman Rocky De La Fuente who has run in more than a half dozen states in various U.S. Senate contests this year.
Back in 2010, economist and gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari tapped Richardson as his running mate as they ran with no party affiliation. Richardson took on President Barack Obama in the 2012 Democratic primaries but ended up dropping out to support former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer’s short lived presidential bid outside of the major parties which included seeking the Reform Party nod.
From having backed Ross Perot, Roemer and Ralph Nader, Richardson is no stranger to the Reform Party . After Roemer ended his presidential bid in 2012, Richardson sought the party nomination and, after losing out to De La Fuente in 2016, he did encourage supporters to back the Reform Party.
The party had some highs back in the late 1990s with Perot almost taking 10 percent on its line in the 1996 presidential election and Jesse Ventura winning the Minnesota governorship as a Reform Party candidate in 1998. But party factionalism and in-fighting limited its impact as the party swang to the right to nominate Pat Buchanan in 2000 only to swing over to the left to back Nader four years later. Some of its more recent presidential candidates–Ted Weill in 2008 and Andre Barnett in 2012–each pulled in less than 1,000 votes but De La Fuente pulled more than 33,000 votes last time out.