By Scotty Boman
Editor’s note: This article concerns a candidate seeking the Libertarian Party nomination through the primary system. The Michigan Libertarian provides fair coverage of any Libertarian Party of Michigan member who is seeking the nomination through this process without endorsing one candidate over another, or the candidate’s views.
United States Senate candidate Brian Ellison hasn’t filed his petition yet, but he has already received a level of media coverage for his controversial “Arm the Homeless” campaign that is rarely attained by state-wide Libertarian candidates, even after considerable expense and vigorous campaigning.
On the National level he has been written about in publications like Newsweek, The Guardian, The Blaze, Fox News, and Vice.com. This is the first time in Libertarian Party of Michigan history that one of our candidates has received coverage on Fox News or in Newsweek. Vice.com is the affiliated website for ViceLand TV, which frequently covers topics related to the underground economy.
In Michigan he has been reported on by MLive and Michigan Radio, and also featured on Fox 2 News in Detroit. Fox 2 News is one of the big three television stations in metropolitan Detroit that dominate the evening news market.
He has been covered across the pond in the UK publication, The Telegraph.
This has all happened as the result of a fundraising campaign he started on GoFundMe.com. Ellison has sought to raise money to buy shotguns for homeless people. In his “Arm the Homeless” news release and the resulting articles he says homeless people are disproportionately targeted by criminals and in need of the protection.
On March 11 the Libertarian Vindicator reported that the site had been shut down because it violated the GoFundMe.com terms of service. Those terms single out campaigns relating to “knives, explosives, ammunition, firearms, or other weaponry or accessories.”
As of this writing another, related, GoFundMe site has popped up. This one was also created by Ellison, but calls on contributors to “Help the Homeless.” On the page he cites the case law of “Warren v. District of Columbia” which Ellison paraphrases as meaning citizens can’t count on the police to help them.
His reboot of the GoFundMe effort says, “Your donation will help us train homeless people who wish to learn how to protect themselves from being the victim of violent assaults. Training session will include transportation and food.”
The petition filing deadline is April 24th. Ellison will need a minimum of 15,000 valid signatures to get on the primary ballot. According to LPM Chair Bill Hall, “It remains to be seen whether the media attention to his controversial campaign, and Libertarian reactions to it, will help or hurt that effort.”