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Greg Raymer for Vice President

Aug 2, 2007
Author: Catrina Rudd
When some one in the poker world hears the name Greg ‘Fossilman' Raymer, he is recalled as the 2004 World Series of Poker. His history of entertaining sunglasses, and intense play has earned him a respected place at any poker table. Recently this mild tempered patent attorney has other aspirations, the Vice President's Office.
Libertarian Party, the third-largest national party, officials have been discussing the political office with him, and the mutual understanding right now, is that no final decision will be made until the Libertarian National Convention in 2008.

The Libertarian Party was actively seeking a well-known poker pro to run in the presidential race. Raymer followed up about the position and now could find him running for the second highest office in the United States. He may not be making his decision until spring 2008, but said he'd be willing to discuss the option and his platforms with anyone during downtime. Knowing a Libertarian candidate has never made a serious run for the presidency, Raymer said it's less about winning and more about exposing ideas.

Third party organizations are commonly consist of disaffected conventional people, said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Boston University. Poker players embody such a group, particularly U.S. online poker players fighting anti-gambling legislation.

Zelizer said periphery parties could go one of two directions, convert a refined politician interested in promoting the cause, or recruit a celebrity who can be a magnet for media attention.

"It sounds like this guy (Raymer) can get the party media coverage that otherwise wouldn't exist," Zelizer said. "The media always covers celebrities who are running for office and that's the advantage. The danger is it looks too pragmatic (having a poker player promoting a poker issue).

The negative part of that is it can diminish his candidacy and the image of the party. It can work, but it's a delicate balance."

Libertarians, in general, believe in individual liberty and self-responsibility. The party strongly opposes government interference in individual, family or business-related issues, according to the party's Web site.

Raymer has definite issues, like online gambling, that are significant to him and his professional line of business. He says he has been a committed Libertarian for a couple decades, voting along party lines in the last number of national elections. He also says his platform would include more than poker issues. Commonly Americans are familiar with the Libertarian position on legalized drug uses and governmental reduction, often the positions are misconstrued in the media, creating the illusion that Libertarians are radical, obviously playing a part in their political impact.

As for eliminating drug laws, Raymer said a person who starts using a narcotic like Cocaine "is extremely stupid," but well within their rights to do with their body what they wish. Raymer believes a political process should be free from morality-based judgments, leaving judgment in the hands of the adults who make them.

Gambling, more specifically online poker, falls under Raymer's non-interfering umbrella. Raymer believes gambling should be legal for everyone, everywhere. "Personal morals are great and it's good for a person to have them," Raymer said. "But when you apply your morality to me, we're talking fascism."

Raymer differentiate himself from the hardcore Libertarians by means of considering some governmental involvement is tolerable and essential. He believes in "common sense" interventions like national defense, a strong police force and age limits for the so-called morality laws.

People, who are not mature enough in age to make a decision about what is best, require protection from government, like under-age gamblers or smokers, or drinkers. Once they reach adulthood, Raymer believes it's no longer the government's place to intercede. He has stated previously many of his fellow poker players, especially those involved in online poker, hold parallel beliefs.

Much like poker, politics have been a passion for Raymer. He has previously considered entering politics and has worked as a board member for the Poker Player's Alliance. Time and money restraints have kept from running for office.

Despite his monetary poker successes, $5 million in 2004, Raymer believes it would take one more big win or two before he became bored of the game and was reputable enough to ensure his family's long-term success. Only those circumstances would he put the cards down for a full-time career in politics. He has yet to rule out the possibility.
"A third-party offers room for him (Raymer) to enter into the political realm," Zelizer said. "These parties need someone with some type of appeal."

Raymer says his poker career is one of the reasons he doesn't want to be at the top of the ticket. He wants to lend his name to the party in the hopeful endeavor that it gains interest, however he doesn't believe he has neither the time nor the experience for a concentrated and effective campaign.

Libertarians nominate their presidential and vice-presidential candidates separately. Because the Libertarian presidential candidate does not choose his running mate, Raymer able to run for the second position if he chooses.

Well-known Las Vegas sports-handicapper Wayne Allyn Root is being considered for the top spot. Root has a Web site devoted to his endeavor to receive the Libertarian presidential nomination: www.millionairerepublican.com.
Already he is getting attention, without choseing to run.

Some of the other places you can learn about Greg Raymer, and his political platform include Third Party Watch, a political blog dedicated to ‘minor parties', Casino City Times, and several other poker and non-poker related sites. It is just a matter of time before the ticket is announced. Perhaps when it is, poker will top all of the headlines.

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