2020 Libertarian Party leadership election

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2020 Libertarian Party leadership election
Libertarian Party of Sierra.svg
← 2013 June 22 – July 22, 2020 (2020-06-22 – 2020-07-22)
Turnout 988,244 ( 2.4%)

  Ryan Porter.jpg John McAfee by Gage Skidmore.jpg Jo Jorgensen.jpg
Candidate Ryan Porter John McCellen Sarah Behrman
Home state Maricopa Mohave Maricopa
Delegate count 1,390 497 445
Popular vote 551,440 235,202 201,602
Percentage 59.6% 21.3% 19.1%

Leader before election

Ravinder Didbal

Elected Leader

Ryan Porter

The 2020 Libertarian Party leadership election was held on July 22, 2020 to determine the future Leader of the Libertarian Party of Sierra following the resignation of Ravinder Didbal as party leader after the party's poor showing in the 2020 Sierran federal election. Primary elections were held in the party's provincial affiliates in all provinces of Sierra and ran from June 22 to July 9 while the convention started on July 12 where the final debates between the candidates were held and the delegates casted the final vote.

On July 10, the Libertarian Executive Committee had declared Ryan Porter, John McCellen, and Sarah Behrman to be the finalists and all would advance to the second phase where they attended the 2020 Libertarian National Conference to engage in a second round of debates which focused heavily on the issue of the party's future, potential ideological changes, justice and police reform, and the continuation of the party's historic cooperation with the Royalist Party in Parliament.

The final vote was casted by the conference's 2,332 delegates on July 22 and the results were announced at around 8:42 pm where Ryan Porter was declared the party's new leader coming in a strong first place having won both the largest number of contests amongst the party's provincial affiliates and won the most delegates at the conference. Porter has stated his intent to hold talks with Dibdal and his former campaign rivals before assuming his post as the new Leader of ther Libertarian Party.

The 2020 Libertarian Party leadership election is unique in that it's the first party leadership election to allow party voters to choose the nominee for the convention phase in a ranked-choice style of voting reminiscent of presidential primary elections held in countries like the Northeast Union and Alaska. The new electoral system was implemented by the party under Dibdal's leadership as part of his 2014 party reform policies. Previously, leadership elections were held by the committee in national conference's and the convention delegates chose the party leader as recently as the 2013 leadership election.


Ravinder Dibhal became Leader of the Libertarian Party on December 13, 2013 following the 2013 Libertarian Party leadership election succeeding Daniel Wood. Didbal became the first Indian Sierran to serve as the leader of a national political party and one of the nation's three biggest political parties as well and saw the party win 32 seats in the 2016 Sierran federal election and join the coalition government lead by the Royalist Party under Daniel McComb and later Nemesis Heartwell. On May 1, the 2020 Sierran federal election was held a snap election following the major uproar and controversy that occurred during the Red Rock Castle crisis leading to the election being held. In the ensuing election, the Libertarians suffered their worst performance in the party's history losing 18 seats, half of their gains made in 2016. While Bidbal secured his seat of Spring Valley, he ultimately chose to resign as party leader believing that he would be unable to lead them to victory in the next election and handed over his resignation to the party's governing body, the Libertarian Executive Committee, on May 2.

The Libertarian Executive Committee has stated that Didbal would remain party leader until the election is over and a successor has been chosen. Initially, candidates for the election must be a sitting Member of Parliament, however non-MPs were permitted to run on May 31, though opponents plan to appeal the decision. The thresholds all candidates must reach to progress will be determined by the committee.

Overall the party won 14 seats in total, mostly seats centered in Southern Clark, parts of Southern Sierra and a small enclave in Maricopa held by Ryan Porter, the latter of which was the first to call for a leadership election if the party suffered a major electoral defeat, but overall lost 18, including previous strongholds such as in Northern Clark which fell to the Christian Democrats and parts of the Eastern Interior. Many analysts criticized the party's campaign citing its mixed messaging on its commitment to its previous coalition with the Royalists, response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and mixed response to the disastrous Three-Day War, though most of the party's base opposed it entirely. Didbal was criticized for mis mixed messaging and that of the party's other candidates which were viewed as spoilers at most by many analysts and Didbal's response to the pandemic was heavily criticized for putting many Sierrans at risk of getting the virus and causing a resurgence along with his opposition to a suspension on rent and foreclosures.


On May 3 the Libertarian Executive Committee announced that the leadership election was to take place on July 20, though there are plans to delay it in the event that COVID-19 makes a resurgence in the summer. The process of selecting candidates had also began as well.

Ryan Porter jumped into the race on May 3 and became the first candidate to enter into the race. Porter began his campaign there after and established a website to help aid his campaign and getting elected as party leader. Porter's entry to the race was viewed as a surprise, but many said it wasn't due to his role as a leading Libertarian MP and his call for a leadership election after fearing the party's defeat in the 2020 federal election. The location for the debates and the convention where the final vote will be held is currently being debated, though Las Vegas is currently listed as a possible location for the final vote.


  • May 4 – McCellen and Behrman joined the race and the Libertarian National Convention stated that May 31 would be the last day that any new candidates would be allowed to enter the race for the party leadership.
  • May 10 – Kasen Walsh entered into the race announcing he would run a civic nationalist campaign.
  • May 16 – a petition was started online to allow non-MPs to run in the leadership race citing how they can lead the party outside of parliament and how a non-MP party leader can focus purely on rebuilding the party following its electoral defeats.
  • May 20 – Didbal said that he would be okay with members of the National Convention running in the leadership election, though admitted that such a decision is up to the governing body itself.
  • May 22 – the convention announced that it would hold a debate to determine if non-MPs such as committee members could be allowed to run in the election.
  • May 24 – James Marshall officially announced his campaign, though as he's deputy chair of the convention and it hasn't been determined if non-MPs can run, his campaign has been designated as a "potential" campaign until the convention decides if it's permitted for him to run.
  • May 31 – the committee voted to allow non-Mps to run, thus making James Marshall a qualified candidate. Opponents of the decision announced their plan to appeal the decision.


  • June 12 – A petition from provincial Libertarian Party leaders and representatives is sent to the executive committee calling for the May 31 decision to be reversed.
  • June 14 – First debates are held between the candidates for party leader. The debate is virtual and held in Fort Travis, Kings.
  • June 22 – The Clark, Mojave, Eureka and Washumko elections are held with Porter winning Clark and Mojave, McCellen winning Eureka and Behrman winning Washumko.
  • June 28 – Provincial Libertarian elections are held in San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Reno and Tahoe with Porter winning the firs three elections while McCellen wins in Tahoe.
  • June 29 – Porter wins in San Francisco, Central Valley and Kings, Behrman wins in Orange, and Marshall wins in Plumas and Shasta. Kasen Walsh drops out of the race and endorses Behrman.


  • July 2 – Provincial Libertarian elections are held in the Inland Empire, Imperial, and Laguna. Porter wins in Laguna and Imperial while McCellen and Behrman are tied in the Inland Empire
  • July 4 – James Marshall withdraws from the race and endorses Behrman citing him being "too ambitious" and his poor showing in the race.
  • July 9 – The final elections are held in Sonora, Flagstaff, Cornerstone, and Maricopa. Porter wins in Flagstaff and Sonora, McCellen wins in Cornerstone and Behrman wins in Maricopa.
  • July 10 – The Libertarian Executive Committee declares Ryan Porter, John McCellen and Sarah Behrman finalists and advances them to the second phase of the election.
  • July 12 – The 2020 Libertarian National Coference officially begins and is hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
  • July 13 – The first debate is held between the finalists. The topic is the COVID-19 pandemic and if the Libertarians shoudl continue working with the Royalists in parliament.
  • July 18 – The second debate between the finalists is held and is focused on the issue of justice reform and police brutality.
  • July 20 – The final debate is held between the finalists in front of the delegates and party officials.
  • July 21 – The finalists give their speeches to attendents, party officials and delegates of the conference on the night before the final vote is held and announced.
  • July 22 – Ryan Porter is declared the winner and new Leader of the Libertarian Party of Sierra.
  • July 23 – Porter is sworn in as party leader and Didbal is appointed the Libertarian Party's parliamentary leader in the House of Commons.
  • July 25 – McCellen is appointed Deputy Leader of the Libertarian Party by Porter. Behrman is appointed deputy chair of the House Libertarian Caucus.



On May 3, Ryan Porter (MP from Maricopa's 7th district) announces his candidacy for Leader of the Libertarian Party and becomes the first candidate to jump into the race.

On May 4, John McCellen and Sarah Behrman entered into the race for Leader of the Libertarian Party. McCellen, President of the Objectivist Alliance of Sierra, stated his intent to run a campaign that would bring the Libertarian Party closer to the philosophy of Objectivism, a move that he argued would bring the party towards "the true roots of Libertarianism" while Behrman promised to run on a national liberal and right libertarian platform which would push the party in a more civic nationalist direction similar to how Daniel McComb pushed the Royalist Party into a nationalist direction when he was the Leader of the Royalist Party.

On May 10, Kasen Walsh of the EBN and MP of Sonora's 3rd district joined the race running a campaign to push the Libertarian Party in a more civic nationalist direction.

On May 24, Committee Deputy Chair James Marshall announced his entry into the race, though he's been declared an unofficial candidate due to the convention not making the final decision on if non-MPs can run in the election. Marshall still plans to continue his campaign despite the convention's ambiguous stance.

On May 31, the LEC allowed non-MPs to run by a narrow margin of two votes, thus formalizing Marshall's candidacy, but opponents seek to appeal the decision.


Elections amongst provincial Libertarian parties begin on June 22 with the first elections to be held in Clark, Mojave, Eureka and Washumko. All of which will be held on the same day. The primaries will see multiple provinces hold elections all on the same day each week until July 10 in which the last ten days will see a final debate be held at the convention and a final vote amongst the party delegates and committee members. The convention is to be held in Las Vegas, Clark and while there will be physical attendants, there will be a great effort to limit the ammount of in-person visitors to and social distancing measures will remain in effect with the last debate having podiums be six feet apart and candidates will be required to wear gloves and masks along with other attendants.


Election rules[edit]

The leadership election is divided into two phases; the primary phase and the convention phase which is very similar to the two-round system that the party uses in the second phase of the leadership election.

The first phase is held in various elections held across all of Sierra's provinces along with the areas of the Deseret and the states of Hawaii. The primary system used in the first phase is modeled after the presidential primaries used in the Northeast Union during presidential elections. In the primary phase, first-past-the-post is used to determine the winner for the primaries, but there has been a move by some provincial Libertarian parties to switch over to instant-runoff voting, the same system used in the convention phase among the delegates to determine the next party leader, with Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Joaquin and Plumas using ranked-choice voting approved by their Libertarian parties.

The convention phase is held after the top two and three performing candidates engage in the final debates to determine who's qualified as party leader and the last election is held by party delegates who decide which candidate will become the party leader. Ranked-choice voting is the voting system used and the candidate that reaches 45% of the vote at bare minimum is declared the winner and becomes the new party leader. The candidate that come in second and third place are given the option of becoming the party's deputy leader and/or serve in the convention as a member, though they can only assume either position if they accept it.



Candidate Born Office Campaign
Ryan Porter.jpg Ryan Porter (1962-03-12) March 12, 1962 (age 58)
Sun City West, Maricopa
Member of Parliament for Maricopa's 7th district (2004–present)
Deputy Chair of the House Libertarian Conference (2016–present)
Announced: May 3, 2020
John McAfee by Gage Skidmore.jpg John McCellen (1949-07-13) July 13, 1949 (age 71)
British Hong Kong
President of the Objectivist Alliance of Sierra (2009–present)
Member of Parliament for Mohave's 2nd district (2016–present)
Announced: May 4, 2020
Jo Jorgensen.jpg Sarah Behrman (1967-05-23) May 23, 1967 (age 53)
Riverside, Inland Empire
Professor at the University of Sierra (1994–2013)
Member of Parliament for Maricopa's 11th district (2013–present)
Announced: May 4, 2020


Candidate Born Office Campaign
Kokesh2013.jpg Kasen Walsh (1983-02-03) February 3, 1983 (age 37)
Phoenix, Maricopa
Corporal of the Sierran Royal Marines (1999–2007)
Commentator for EBN (2009-present)
Member of Parliament for Sonora's 3rd district (2016–present)
Announced: May 10, 2020
Withdrew: June 29, 2020
Sam Robb Campaign Photo for 2020 Election (cropped).jpg James Marshall (1969-01-21) January 21, 1969 (age 51)
Ukiah, Plumas
Deputy Chair of the Libertarian Executive Committee (2011–present)
Chair of the Libertarian Party of Plumas (2001–2011)
Announced: May 24, 2020
Formalized: May 31, 2020
Withdrew: July 4, 2020


  • John Gray, Member of Parliament from Clark's 2nd district (endorsed Porter)
  • Emily Malkus, Deputy Chair of the Libertarian National Convention (endorsed Porter)
  • Marcus Smith, Member of Parliament for South Mohave (endorsed Behrman)


See also[edit]