Even though she hasn’t announced it publicly, Alicia Dearn seems to be throwing her hat into the ring of Libertarians looking to challenge Nicholas Sarwark for party chairman.
Yesterday Alicia sent the following message to Sarwark:
Before I announce it publicly, I wanted to pay you the respect of telling you that I am running for Chair of the LNC this year.
Two weeks ago, if you had asked me whether I would ever run for the LNC, I would have told you no. I have intentionally scaled back my law practice this year because I grew sick of futile fights. And I have observed that past LNCs were chock-full of futile fights.
But as the voices protesting the messages coming out of the LNC grew — messages like the “Satanic” social media post, scurrilous attacks on teachers and military, “pedo-gate” and all the nonsense surrounding Arvin — I was asked with increasing frequency by people across diverse party factions to run.
I declined at least twenty times. As I told you not long ago, I’ve been a fan. I support you for Mayor of Phoenix. I had little to criticize you on.
That is, until recently. The Vohra vote and the odds at which the party base finds itself with the party leadership has caused a toxic and unsustainable rift that is not quieting with time.
For the first time since I became a Libertarian at the age of 18, I fear that half the party may leave. Serious people with serious money have approached me about forming new parties.
People from all corners of my network make compelling arguments that the Libertarian Party, after 46 years, is not going to advance enough to be worth further investment.
And I too began to wonder. Should I leave? Should I pick some new venture and see if it does better? Should I adopt a cynical apathy? Or can the Libertarian Party get past this fight and begin to take advantage of its unprecedented political opportunities?
As a leader, how do you answer this crisis of faith within the party?
It is not an answer to say that you do not have the ability to address their concerns. What they hear is that you don’t care enough to try.
It is not an answer to say that you are an excellent neutral facilitator of the LNC (and I agree that you are). What they hear is that you will not lead.
It is not an answer to tell people that they are illogical for threatening to leave. What they hear is that you do not care if they go.
I am sure that those messages were not your intent. But now far too many activists, donors, volunteers, and candidates down the line have lost confidence.
So when I got asked to run for Chair yet again two weeks ago, the answer changed to maybe. I spent the last two weeks asking people whether they would stay and contribute to the party if certain things were addressed. When many of them said yes, my decision to run was made.
When someone challenges you for political office, the implication is that they think they can do better than you.
Well, I have a different strengths and weaknesses than you. That is why it is good for leadership to rotate. You carried the ball to this place. But you are now struggling to advance it. Perhaps it is time for you to be relieved so that you can apply your talents in other areas (like Mayor of Phoenix). That is not a criticism or a personal attack.
I will not negatively campaign against you. As I still support you for Mayor of Phoenix — a major prize for this party — I cannot say, on the one hand, that you are terrible, and then praise you on the other.
But to mudsling would also be a lie. You are still a person who holds my respect. Competition can be sportsmanlike. I intend to always be able to look you in the eye and be comfortable enough to buy you a beer.
In the coming months, I will present my vision of how the LNC should operate for 2018 to the delegates. I will propose a plan of unity and refocused messaging. The choice, of course, is ultimately theirs to make.