March 26th, 2008
01:02 PM ET
15 years ago

Former Democratic presidential hopeful bolts for Libertarian Party

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel is switching parties."] WASHINGTON (CNN) – One-time Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Gravel announced Wednesday he is abandoning his political party and will run for the White House as a Libertarian.

Gravel, a former senator whose presidential campaign was never taken seriously by most political observers, made the proclamation in a message posted on his Web site.

“The fact is, the Democratic Party today is no longer the party of FDR,” Gravel said. “It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism - all of which I find anathema to my views.”

Despite his long shot bid, Gravel was successful in sharing a stage several times with the more established candidates during this election cycle. He used these nationally televised opportunities to rail against his opponents and highlight his opposition to the Iraq war. Gravel represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981, and is best known for publishing the Pentagon Papers.

“I look forward to advancing my presidential candidacy within the Libertarian Party, which is considerably closer to my values, my foreign policy views and my domestic views,” Gravel said in the statement, in which he also solicited small dollar donations from supporters.

Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, who left the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party in 2006, embraced Gravel’s decision.

"Just as Senator Gravel believes Democrats have lost touch with the American public, I too concluded Republicans had lost their core principles, and could no longer associate myself with the GOP,” Barr said in a statement posted on the Libertarian Party’s Web site. “While coming from opposite sides of the aisle, Senator Gravel and I definitely agree on the fundamental need for systemic change in our political system, and that the only way we have of effecting that change is by supporting and working in the Libertarian Party, which is the only political party in America that consistently works in word and deed to maximize individual liberty and minimize government power.”

The Libertarian Party will choose its presidential nominee at its national convention to be held in Denver in May.

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston

Filed under: Mike Gravel
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Tex

    Let's see now, was Mike gravel even running for President in the Democratic Party? Woo Hoo, I am like really excited about this possibilty (lol).

    March 26, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. mjc

    mike gravel is right. its a shame people write him off as a crazy old guy, etc. the man has it right on all fronts. and if he is on the ballot in november, i just may vote for him, especially since my state always goes blue, and because the DNC will not count two important states. i'm getting fed up with the DNC and its candidates.


    March 26, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Stacy Clarks, Texas

    instead of lashing out, why not sit with party leaders and work the problems out (urge hillary to stop her negative and dirty tactics!!!!!)


    March 26, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. David, SC

    This is another charade to spend our time and money. Bob Barr is a reject from GA and now trying to support Mikle Gravel who is also a reject by Democrats. I am sure american people will dump them once and for all.

    March 26, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. Grif

    One of many to come... All searching for That .... Third Party..

    Balls in your Court!!!! You're Serve!!

    Still I go Love 40.... To Hillary.....

    March 26, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. NIC

    I applaud both these men, Gravel and Barr. A third, maybe even more political parties are so desparately needed in the USA. The Democrat VS Republican (two party system) is too extreme. It's like black or white, 1 or 2, on or off, in or out, A or B etc get my point. It shouldn't be an all or nothing situation that leaves people very disconnected at many levels in their own political party! And thats just wrong. A person should be about to go where he or she is listen too and have others with similar to almost exact political beliefs. And right now, that is not possible in the two party system. Many many people feel pulled, or split because neither party can accommidate.

    March 26, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Ratgurl

    Dude, trying to pull a "Nader"?

    March 26, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. Jay

    If only Ron Paul would defect, drop some of his more extreme views, and run on the Libertarian ticket. Could be a serious challenger.

    March 26, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. The Austrian

    Both parties have lost hold of their ideals, and it's high time that politicians who still maintain a sound conscience and good brain abandon party loyalty and follow the course truth.

    Decades of failed Keynesianism will lead to the rise of Libertarian-minded leaders. The Austrians are coming.

    March 26, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. Bob Stephens

    Maybe he could get on a ticket with Ross Perot......

    March 26, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Mike

    Gravel who?

    March 26, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Brian

    He's doing what to who in the what now?

    March 26, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Gravel and Nader– perfect together.

    March 26, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Brian

    Did he have to throw another rock in a lake to run as a Libertarian?

    March 26, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. Another Typical White Woman

    Give us anything but Obama.

    March 26, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Heather Peterson

    Who is Mike Gravel again?

    March 26, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. d

    I might just have to see what this person believes in going forward for our country. Neither the Democrats or the Republicans seem to understand where they are "taking" this country. I hope more candidates will come forth, one who is truly for our rights, liberties and Nation's sovereignty. The Dems and Reps have forgotton all of those........they are hijacking this country, and heading it towards bigger government..........that is NOT the answer.

    March 26, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. David

    We will support you if Hillary become the nominee
    If Obama, we will ask you to drop out. Obama is going to unite all good people for the best of this nation, all good nations and humanity..

    March 26, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. cle

    Another option in case Obama gets the Dem nom.

    March 26, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |