Libertarians Sparse on State's Ballot; They Hope Bob Barr's Candidacy Helps Them Explain the Dearth

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Byline: BRANDON LARRABEE

ATLANTA - After the last chance for would-be legislators, judges and statewide candidates to qualify to run for office, one thing was clear: Not much had changed.

And some want to make that the issue.

The state's Libertarian Party did put up Allen Buckley for the seat of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and candidates for both open seats on the Public Service Commission, which oversees the state's utilities.

But beyond that, just five independent candidates filed to run in the state House or Senate. And few judges will have to fend off a challenge in the November elections.

Daniel Adams, chairman of the Libertarian Party, said the publicity kicked up by the candidacy of former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, the party's nominee for president, could give the party an opportunity to stress what it sees as unfair ballot-access rules.

"Of course, it's going to assist our candidates," he said. "But it's also going to help us get the word out to Georgians as to why they don't see more Libertarians on their ballots."

Libertarians automatically get the names of presidential and statewide candidates on the ballot. But legislative or local candidates face the same hurdle as any other independent: gathering the signatures of 5 percent of the registered voters in a district.

"It's a pretty insurmountable task," he said.

Those signatures don't have to be turned in until July 18.

Neither of the sitting Supreme Court justices will face a challenge in their re-election bids. Both the 2004 and 2006 elections featured tough battles for seats on the court, with business leaders and others seeking to push out justices they said were opposed to the state's tort reform law or too liberal for the state. …