The effort to draft former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano, best known for his work as a libertarian pundit on Fox News for 15 years, is picking up steam.
On Wednesday, the Virginia-based Committee to Draft Judge Andrew Napolitano for President announced it had gathered almost 100,000 signatures urging him to run for president in 2016 and had garnered more than 36,000 likes on Facebook.
The "Draft Napolitano" effort is being led by Larry Hunter, a former Reagan White House staffer who worked with Jack Kemp and helped craft the Contract With America, which led to Republicans winning the U.S. House in the 1994 elections. Hunter also worked as a vice president and chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Hunters group praised Napolitano on Wednesday as a man who will not shy from his convictions, who believes Americans should be left to handle their own affairs with minimal interference from government and precisely what the country needs right now.
While the "Draft Napolitano" committee is gathering petitions for its candidate to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, it offered harsh words for the GOP and Democratic establishments.
The heads of both parties are busy right now lining up establishment candidates people who wont embarrass them, who wont go too far off the good-ol-boy grid when it comes to running the country, the group insisted on Wednesday. And weve seen where we get when we let these old bulls pick our leaders for us. We get inaction, frustration, dysfunction. We get government causing problems, then expanding still further to solve them, then expanding still further to solve the problems the solutions themselves caused. Judge Napolitano knows better.
While taking shots at the establishments of both parties, Hunter and his group have had kind words for the premier libertarian family in American politics. Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, best known for his two bids for the Republican presidential nomination and running as the Libertarian presidential nomination in 1988, is included on the petitions the group is collecting. During the 2012 election cycle, Paul said he thought Napolitano would make an excellent running mate.
The petition reads following the retirement of Representative Ron Paul from Congress, the liberty movement is in need of a strong, principled, and intellectual leader, capable of inspiring and coalescing the various elements within the movement and the country.
Hunter praised U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., earlier this year when that senator launched a filibuster back in March and encouraged him to stand with Napolitano come 2016. Rand Paul is regarded one of the top Republican presidential prospects in the 2016 election cycle.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com