Austin Petersen
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Austin Petersen

Austin Petersen
Austin Petersen crop.jpg
Petersen speaking at the 2018 Young Americans for Liberty St. Louis Spring Summit
Personal details
Austin Wade Petersen

(1981-02-19) February 19, 1981 (age 38)
Independence, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (2017-present)
Other political
Libertarian (before 2017)
ResidenceKansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Alma materMissouri State University
OccupationPolitical activist, writer, publisher, political commentator, film and television producer

Austin Wade Petersen (born February 19, 1981) is an American writer, libertarian political activist, commentator, and film and television producer. He was the runner-up for the Libertarian Party's nomination for President of the United States in 2016,[1] finishing second place to Gary Johnson with 21.9% of the vote.[2][3]

On August 7, 2018, he finished third in the U.S. Senate Republican primary in Missouri with 8.3% of the vote, behind winner Josh Hawley and runner-up Tony Monetti.[4]

Early life and education

Petersen was raised on a farm in Peculiar, Missouri, the son of Donna and John D. Petersen. He attended Missouri State University, where he graduated with a degree in musical theater.[5][6]


Early work

Petersen's early career included stints as a model and as a product demonstrator at FAO Schwarz; at the latter position, he briefly appeared during a Late Night with Conan O'Brien sketch filmed at the store.[5]

In 2008 Petersen worked for the Libertarian National Committee and the Atlas Network, assisting on the 2008 and 2012 presidential bids of former U.S. Representative from Texas, Ron Paul.[5] He was an associate producer at the Fox Business program Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano, which aired from 2010-2012, and later went to work as director of production at the conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks.[5][6] Petersen has also been a frequent guest on the RT program The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann.[7]

Current activities

As of 2018, Petersen is the owner and CEO of a photo and video consulting firm called Stonegait LLC and is the founder of The Libertarian Republic and Liberty Viral - both libertarian news and commentary websites. He also recently ran for the 2018 U.S. Senate election in Missouri as a Republican, but was defeated in the primary by Missouri's Attorney General Josh Hawley.[16]

2016 presidential campaign

By 2015, Petersen was living in Kansas City, Missouri "behind a midtown QuikTrip" when he announced his candidacy in the 2016 Libertarian Party nominating convention for President of the United States.[5][8][9] Writing in the Los Angeles Times, he was described by Reason editor Matt Welch as "an eager libertarian dudebro on the make".[10]

Petersen called himself the Bernie Sanders of the Libertarian Party due to his grassroots fundraising strategy.[11][12] After Ted Cruz terminated his campaign for the Republican Party's nomination for president, Petersen received the backing of Mary Matalin and Erick Erickson.[13][14] In many polls, he placed in the top three presidential choices for his party, along with opponents John McAfee and Gary Johnson. On May 29, 2016, at the Libertarian National Convention, Petersen lost the nomination to Johnson, getting second place on the second ballot.[15] Petersen congratulated Johnson on the win and gave him a replica of George Washington's pistol. Petersen then criticized Johnson's vice presidential pick Bill Weld, in response to which Johnson placed the replica into a garbage can.[16][17]

Petersen, thereafter, endorsed Johnson for president.[18]

2018 Senate campaign

Campaign logo

In late June 2017, Petersen filed an exploratory committee to consider running for the 2018 U.S. Senate election in Missouri.[19] On July 4, 2017, Petersen formally announced his bid for the Republican nomination in the 2018 Missouri Senate race.[20]

In September 2017 Petersen was banned from Facebook during his senate campaign for giving away an AR-15 style rifle as a promotion and criticizing his Democratic opponent Claire McCaskill's positions on gun rights.[21] The ban was lifted after Fox News[22] and the New York Post[23] reported that Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg had made max donations to McCaskill's campaign. The raffle drew renewed controversy in February 2018 when the school shooting in Parkland, Florida caused the Springfield News-Leader to investigate.[24]KMOV in St. Louis scrutinized Petersen over his Second Amendment views in light of the shooting.[25]

Petersen also reportedly received the national record for the largest Bitcoin donation in American campaign history.[26] Fox News reported in January 2018 that Petersen is one of two "potential general election challengers" in the election.[27] In February, Fox News continued to place Petersen in its power rankings in Missouri's senate race.[28]

Petersen officially filed with the Missouri Secretary of State for the US Senate seat as a Republican on February 28, 2018.[29]

On March 6, Petersen announced a new AR-15 raffle on Facebook. His personal page was banned for 30 days less than two hours after the livestream was recorded.[30] In July he announced a raffle for a machine, similar to a 3-D printer, that can produce "untraceable gun parts". His campaign said 3-D printing technology has been described as the "end of gun control".[31]

In the runup to the Republican primary election in August, President Donald Trump endorsed Petersen's rival Josh Hawley and campaigned for him. Petersen complained bitterly about Trump's involvement in the primary.[32] In the August 7 primary Petersen came in third with 8.3% of the vote.[33]

U.S. Representatives
State legislators
State judges
Military Officials
  • Rik Combs, retired U.S. Air Force officer and command pilot[41]
  • Shane Hazel, marine corps veteran, candidate for GA-07[42]
  • Kash Jackson, Navy veteran and activist, Libertarian nominee for Governor of Illinois in 2018[43]
  • Rob Maness, retired United States Air Force colonel and candidate for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana in 2014, 2016

Political positions

Petersen has voiced and published his rejection of the non-aggression principle.[75][76][77][78] Petersen describes himself as a minarchist.[79] During his presidential campaign, he maintained that he had a "consistent pro-life ethic," meaning he is both pro-life and anti-death penalty.[9] He opposes the War on Drugs.[11] He is a non-interventionist on most matters of foreign policy[80] and applies a free-market capitalist approach to economics. Petersen advocates for an Ellis Island styled immigration policy with a strict disease check, strict security check, with no quotas. He has expressed he has no fear of open borders, but believes the problems of the welfare state must be addressed first.[81] He is an advocate for the Second Amendment and the right to freedom of association.[]

Personal life

On social media and in interviews, Petersen has described himself variously as an agnostic and an atheist.[82][83][84] He grew up as a Christian, though in a 2016 interview with Glenn Beck, Petersen spoke about how the death of his mother changed his religious views: "When I was a young man my mother died, and she was victimized by a pharmacist who diluted her chemotherapy drugs. I lost my faith and I never went back."[85]

Petersen resides in Jefferson City, Missouri.[5][6]

Electoral history

Republican primary results, Missouri 2018[86]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Josh Hawley 389,878 58.64%
Republican Tony Monetti 64,834 9.75%
Republican Austin Petersen 54,916 8.26%
Republican Kristi Nichols 49,640 7.47%
Republican Christina Smith 35,024 5.27%
Republican Ken Patterson 19,579 2.95%
Republican Peter Pfeifer 16,594 2.50%
Republican Courtland Sykes 13,870 2.09%
Republican Fred Ryman 8,781 1.32%
Republican Brian Hagg 6,871 1.03%
Republican Bradley Krembs 4,902 0.74%
Total votes 664,889 100%

See also


  1. ^ "Austin Petersen - Ballotpedia". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ "Six candidates vie for Libertarian presidential nomination". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "2016 | Libertarian Party". Libertarian Party. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "Austin Petersen Trounced in Missouri GOP Primary Election for U.S. Senate". August 8, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Montgomery, Rick (June 20, 2016). "Kansas Citian lost Libertarian Party race, but likely ran campaign of the future". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Petersen at a glance:". Petersen for President. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "Thom Hartmann Explodes at Libertarian over Life-Saving Healthcare". YouTube. January 25, 2013. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ Zeoli, Rich. "The Libertarian Candidate For President Wants Voters To Join A 'Generational Movement'". KYW-TV. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ a b Rogers, Brooke (May 19, 2016). "Can Austin Petersen Unite Disenfranchsied Republicans?". National Review. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ Welch, Matt. "Op-Ed Meet the libertarians -- the #NeverTrump movement's last hope". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ a b Watkins, Eli (June 22, 2016). "What is Libertarianism?". CNN. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ Welch, Matt (May 28, 2016). "Presidential Candidate Austin Petersen Says He's the "Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama" of the Libertarian Party". Reason. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ Nelson, Steven (May 4, 2016). "Libertarians Say 'Brave' Ted Cruz Should Endorse Them, Not Trump". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ Doherty, Brian (May 25, 2016). "Austin Petersen Catches More Endorsements from the Media Right for His Presidential Campaign". Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ Libertarian Party National Convention (Live Video). Orlando, Florida: C-SPAN. May 29, 2016. Event occurs at 03:12:00. Retrieved 2016.
  16. ^ Chakraborty, Barnini. "Libertarian nominee accepts rival's gift of Washington replica pistol - then trashes it". Fox News. Retrieved 2016.
  17. ^ Chasmar, Jessica (June 2, 2016). "Gary Johnson tossed rival Austin Petersen's gift of George Washington's replica pistol in trash". Washington Times. Retrieved 2016.
  18. ^ Weigel, David (August 7, 2016). "Is Libertarian Gary Johnson a factor in Clinton-Trump matchup?". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016.
  19. ^ Bentley, Robert (June 29, 2017). "Austin Petersen Forms Exploratory Committee For U.S. Senate". The Libertarian Vindicator. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ Gillespie, Nick; Keyser, Ian (July 4, 2017). "Exclusive: Libertarian Activist Austin Peterson Is Running for U.S. a Republican! [Reason Podcast]". Reason. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ "This U.S. Senate candidate accepts donations in bitcoin -- and gives away AR-15 rifles".
  22. ^ Fox
  23. ^ "GOP candidate banned from Facebook for trying to give away a gun". September 29, 2017.
  24. ^ "Republican Senate candidate says AR-15 raffle involved 'a lot of due diligence'".
  25. ^ Austin Petersen (February 16, 2018). "Petersen Under Scrutiny After "AR-15 Giveaway" Raffle" – via YouTube.
  26. ^ Fenske, Sarah. "Missouri Candidate Garners Largest Bitcoin Donation in U.S. History".
  27. ^ Stirewalt, Chris (January 5, 2018). "Presenting your 2018 Senate power rankings".
  28. ^ "Power Rankings: New recruits, new ratings". Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  29. ^ writer, SUE STERLING Staff. "Candidates file for state, federal offices".
  30. ^ GOP Senate Candidate Gets 30 Day Facebook Ban For The Stupidest Reason The Daily Wire
  31. ^ Schallhorn, Kaitlyn (July 25, 2018). "Missouri Senate candidate raffling machine that can print 'untraceable' gun parts". Fox News. Retrieved 2018.
  32. ^ Roy, Brenton (July 24, 2018). "Missouri Senate race: GOP primary rival fumes over Trump support for Josh Hawley". Fox News. Retrieved 2018.
  33. ^ "Missouri Senate Republican Primary". CNN. August 8, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  34. ^ "Former Congressman Bob Barr Endorses Austin Petersen". Austin Petersen for US Senate. July 11, 2017. Archived from the original on July 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ "Joe Walsh on Twitter". Twitter. September 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Sen. Eric Brakey on Twitter". Twitter. July 4, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Judge Napolitano discusses "Senator" Austin Petersen and SCOTUS". YouTube. October 20, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  41. ^ "Austin Petersen on Twitter".
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Kash Jackson for Gov on Twitter".
  44. ^ "A Conservative/Libertarian Alliance? Austin Petersen on Glenn Beck". YouTube. February 27, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  45. ^ "Ron Coleman on Twitter". Twitter. July 5, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  46. ^ "Kassy Dillon".
  47. ^ "B. Wayne Hughes Jr. on Twitter". Twitter. July 6, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  48. ^ "Joshua Feuerstein".
  49. ^ [1] Archived April 21, 2018, at the Wayback Machine[failed verification]
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^ Stritzel, Chris (September 4, 2017). "Election 2018: Endorsing Austin Petersen for Senate". Building St. Louis. Archived from the original on April 11, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  53. ^
  54. ^ "PROUD TO SUPPORT AUSTIN PETERSEN FOR SENATE". July 27, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  55. ^
  56. ^ "LIVE: Gary Nolan Endorses Austin Petersen for US Senate". YouTube. January 8, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  57. ^ "Mark Pellegrino Endorses Austin Petersen for Senate". Austin Petersen for US Senate. July 20, 2017. Archived from the original on July 21, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  58. ^ "Dave Rubin Endorses Austin". Austin Petersen for US Senate. July 19, 2017. Archived from the original on August 6, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  59. ^ "Kurt Schlichter on Twitter". Twitter. September 2, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  60. ^
  61. ^ Ben Shapiro [@benshapiro] (August 29, 2017). "Good piece by @AP4Liberty -- happy to help however I can" (Tweet). Retrieved 2017 – via Twitter.
  62. ^ "LIVE: Ben Shapiro with Austin Petersen Exclusive". YouTube. September 6, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  63. ^ "A Libertarian Running for Governor of New York (Larry Sharpe Full Interview)". July 13, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  64. ^ "US Senate Candidate Austin Petersen on InfoWars". YouTube. September 8, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  65. ^ Nicholas Veser [@nicholas_veser] (May 1, 2018). "Yes! @AP4Liberty" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  66. ^
  67. ^ "Guided by the Constitution - an Interview with Austin Petersen - Episode 302 - Blunt Force Truth". February 5, 2018.
  68. ^ "Tom Woods on Twitter". Twitter. July 6, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  69. ^ "Republican Liberty Caucus Endorses Austin Petersen for US Senate in Missouri". Retrieved 2018.
  70. ^ "Building St. Louis on Twitter". Twitter. September 4, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  71. ^
  72. ^ Minnesota Liberty Republicans [@MNLibertyGOP] (April 24, 2018). "ENDORSEMENT: @AP4Liberty for US Senate in Missouri, Currently, Democrat Claire McCaskill is Senator" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  73. ^ Austin Petersen [@AP4Liberty] (April 24, 2018). "Another day, another Missouri Firearms manufacturer jumping on board the campaign thanks to Josh Hawley's gun control agenda. Thanks, Modern Weapons Systems, and thank you @HawleyMO! #MOSEN #2A" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  74. ^
  75. ^ "The Austin Petersen NAP Debate Is A Dream, And It Will All Be Over Soon". December 31, 2015.
  76. ^ "Austin Petersen's Case Against Libertarianism - Matthew Reece -". May 24, 2015.
  77. ^ "6 Reasons Why the Non Aggression Principle is Stupid - The Libertarian Republic". September 29, 2015.
  78. ^ Cook, Joshua (March 8, 2016). "Exclusive: LP Candidate Austin Petersen Responds to Colorado Debate Exclusion".
  79. ^ "Which Of These 11 Types Of Libertarian Are You?". April 25, 2017.
  80. ^
  81. ^ "Libertarian Presidential Candidate Austin Petersen Redeems Himself on the 'Glenn Beck Program'". PJ Media. May 25, 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  82. ^ Doherty, Brian (May 11, 2016). "Austin Petersen, the Conservative's Libertarian Presidential Candidate?". Reason. Retrieved 2016.
  83. ^ "Austin Petersen via The Libertarian Republic". Facebook. September 9, 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  84. ^ Petersen, Austin (May 8, 2016). "Sure. It's a distinction, but the intellectually honest answer is agnostic. Technically everyone is an atheist in some way". Twitter. Retrieved 2016.
  85. ^ Austin Petersen in studio on the Glenn Beck Show. YouTube. 2016. Event occurs at 24:16. Retrieved 2017.
  86. ^ "2018 Missouri primary election results". Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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