Ruth Page-Nelson speaks at the Alabama Democratic Convention

The Libertarian candidate for lieutenant governor gave a keynote at the Alabama Democratic Convention and spoke to members at the Oct. 14 rally.

Ruth Page-Nelson, a solar installation trainer, said in an interview Monday that she wants to encourage members of the mostly black organization to consider voting for her in a year when Alabama Democrats have not fielded a candidate against Republican Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth.

“The problem has been that they understand how to vote,” Page-Nelson said in a phone interview. “I am interested in getting votes to win the race. The issues that I bring up and that I represent, I create a very good space for people on both sides of the ballot.”

It is unusual for nominees of one political party to speak at another party’s event, let alone donate to that other organization. Joe Reed, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Conference, said in a telephone interview Monday that the Oct. 14 event was an “open forum” where anyone could speak.

“We are Democrats,” he said. “We are trying to build the Democratic Party. We are not trying to build other parties.”

Ruth Page-Nelson is the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor of Alabama.

Page-Nelson’s campaign finance records show her campaign made a $1,500 in-kind contribution to the ADC at the Oct. 14 event and a $100 in-kind contribution described as speakers at the event. Page-Nelson reported spending $6,269 on her campaign this year.

The ADC, which officially operates independently of the Alabama Democratic Party, has long held sway with black voters in the state. Reed, who lost the 2019 Democratic Party leadership race, managed to get his preferred candidate elected chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party last August.

Joe Reed, vice chairman of minority affairs for the Alabama Democratic Party, speaks to the Democratic Minority Caucus before the party's August 13, 2022 organizational meeting.

A libertarian who gets their support might embolden them. Page-Nelson is one of three Libertarians running for statewide office; others are James Blake, running for governor, and John Sophocleus, running for U.S. Senate.

If any of those three candidates gets 20% of the vote, the Libertarian Party would have access to the statewide election in 2024 and any special statewide elections that might be held before then, according to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. With no Democrats running for lieutenant governor, Libertarians have the best chance of reaching that threshold in this race.

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