COVERAGE OF: Campaign news for strong candidates in Florida and beyond


Governor Gary Johnson

Who Is Joe Hannoush? A Long-Time Volusia County Resident Willing To Stand In The Rain To Collect Petitions To Give You An Option To The Two-Party System


If you live in Volusia County, you may have met Joseph “Joe” Hannoush over the past two years. A friendly guy who was willing to stand in the rain, dodge thunderstorms and sweat in the Florida sun so that you don’t have to endure a two-dimensional ticket this November.

Hannoush, 38, is the Libertarian Candidate for Florida State House District 25, and he’ll be on the ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 6. He’s the alternative candidate.

DONATE: To Joe Hannoush’s Campaign

Hannoush started collecting petitions to make a point — he would get on the general election ballot through hard work. Instead of just paying the filing fee, as his Republican opponent did, he would earn his way onto the ballot by gathering the 1,247 qualified petitions needed to bypass the fee. He gathered more than 1,500, and 1,255 qualified.


After declaring at a Libertarian regional coalition meeting in April 2017 that he had the intention of running, he began that petition drive — usually working by himself. If you followed Joe’s campaign page on social media, it never seemed a day went by for a year without Joe being at a local library or county office, adding to the stack.

“People began seeing that, and started to help out,” Joe said. “It was a snowball effect … Sometimes it was cold, or rainy. I’d just find a spot where I could stand and stay dry and away from the wind.”


That effort he put into grinding through the Florida elements just to make the ballot is the same effort he swears he’d put into representing residents of Volusia County in Tallahassee. As a Libertarian, Hannoush has issue stances that will resonate with both Democrats and Republicans. While Americans continue to get louder about having a “down the middle” type of candidate, that’s exactly what Hannoush thinks he is.

“I didn’t know that I was a Libertarian until 2011 when I took a political quiz at a site called,” Joe said. “So I went on the site and it asked me a bunch of questions, and it asks you how passionate are you about certain issues, how much it matters to you. It comes out with a percentage. It was leading up to the 2012 election and it said I was 86 percent in agreement with the Libertarian candidate for President at that time — Gary Johnson.”

LISTEN: Joe On The Marc Bernier Show

petitionssigned.jpgThe quiz read Joe well. A Christian family that fled Iraq before Joe was born in 1978 —  when Saddam Hussein fell into power — the Hannoushes have flourished in the United States. After first coming to Illinois and later to Jacksonville, Fla., the family moved to eastern Volusia County 15+ years ago.

They opened NE Cleaners and now have three dry cleaning stores in Volusia County — two in Ormond Beach and one in Port Orange. When his parents left Iraq, they came to the United States to get away from oppression — asking only for the opportunity to flourish and to be left alone.

In Joe’s estimation, his parents — in many ways — are also libertarians. And it is that philosophy — to lessen government’s grip and always defend individual liberties — that Joe says he would take to the State House.

BALLOTPEDIA: Joe Hannoush Page

No, he hasn’t run for office before. No, he hasn’t piled up $200,000 like his Republican counterpart.

“I actually think not running for office before is a good thing,” Joe said. “I actually think being just an average Joe is a good thing, and that’s what I call myself. I’m one of the people. I will keep fighting for individual liberties.

“We rule our own lives, I would never be swayed by lobbyists or any other big money influence. I’m going to vote the way a regular person would want me to vote.”



Featured post

FL State House 58 Libertarian Candidate Bryan Zemina Brings Reasoned Approach To Special Election

If you Google Bryan Zemina, you may find a photo of him wearing a hard-hat and his sleeves are rolled up. If that isn’t an indication of what kind of state house candidate he is, what is?

Zemina is a relative newcomer to the Libertarian Party and is running for the Florida State House Dist. 58 seat that will hold its special election on Dec. 19. While he’s new to the LP, he’s not new to questioning the status quo and searching for an alternative when it comes to government.

Now he is the alternative, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

DONATE: Bryan Zemina for FL State House 58 (Special Election)

ISSUES: Libertarian Bryan Zemina on the issues


The Dist. 58 race will have Zemina, Democrat Jose N. Vazquez Figueroa, Republican primary winner Lawrence McClure and NPA Ahmad Hussam Saadaldin on the ballot. McClure won the October Republican primary by 9.8%. The district — located solely in eastern Hillsborough County — mixes rural areas with municipalities like Plant City and Temple Terrace. The word ‘diverse’ comes to mind when describing Dist. 58’s constituency.

Zemina feels he’s the perfect guy to tie this unique area together.

Zemina was born in Largo and in third grade moved over to the Riverview area in Hillsborough County, Florida. His parents still live in the house he was raised in. After graduating from East Bay High School in Gibsonton, he decided to pack his bags and head to Indiana to Rose-Hulman where not only did he major in mechanical engineering, he also managed to letter in two sports – football and baseball.

After graduating from college, he moved back to the Tampa Bay area.

When it comes to frustration with nagging local regulations and red tape, Zemina’s eyes first crossed after he and his wife Chrissy purchased their first home in Temple Terrace in 2010. He went to Home Depot to purchase fencing materials to construct his own fence-line, only to be slapped in the face with a notice that he was violating permit rules.

Like many property owners, he felt like local government was crossing the line and he decided to ‘tune in’ more intently — and he has.

His diehard interest in politics also came in 2010 when current Florida Governor Rick Scott was running against Democrat challenger Alex Sink. Zemina wasn’t excited about either one of them and began vetting the other candidates in the race. He decided to vote for an NPA candidate named Daniel Imperato.

CAMPAIGN PAGE: For Bryan Zemina

BALLOTPEDIA: Learn more, Bryan Zemina’s page


The seed of not only seeking out an alternative leader to vote for — and later being the alternative — was germinating. After donating to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson last year, he was on an email list that connected him with passionate Hillsborough Libertarian leaders Susan Stanley and Kevin O’Neill, and here he is today. They met, and a Libertarian candidacy was born.

Zemina is one of only eight Libertarian candidates in Florida history to qualify to get on the ballot in a FL State House, State Senate or U.S. House special election.

“The way I look at this, Libertarians are for reducing government and everything stems from that,” Zemina told TLI. “In every walk of life, there is a group that would benefit from reducing government.”

Being a mechanical engineer, Zemina takes a disciplined approach to what could be done while in a State House seat.

“Engineering is analytics,” Zemina said. “You look at the pros and cons of an issue, but not the emotion. What is the benefit? Is it worth it? Does it make sense? Not, ‘Do I feel like I want to do this?'”

FLORIDA DISTRICT 58: Current demographics

FLORIDA DISTRICT 58: Detailed map

Zemina is quick to point out the hypocrisy of not only big government in general, but even with his opposition.

“Both Republican candidates (prior to the primary) are anti-sanctuary, but they both support the farming industry which needs migrant workers,” Zemina said. “So if we kick out the migrant workers, does my glass of orange juice go from 2$ to 4$?

“These people are here to improve their lives, and it’s very rare to find an American citizen who would do those jobs. To me it’s a win, win, win. Why attack people who are doing no wrong? And to speak so two-faced about the issues on your own website?”

When it comes to Zemina’s hot-button issues, his first goal would be to get on the finance committee to have an effect when it comes to the state budget. The campaign financing debate, reducing the tax burden on individuals and small businesses and the decriminalization of marijuana are all topics he would attack on day one (read more about Zemina’s stance on the issues).

He feels the biggest thing he has going for him is obvious. It is the same thing that interested him in 2010 in voting for Imperato for Governor.

“To this day, I don’t know what (Imperato’s) party affiliation is, I just know that my wife and I both liked what he had to say, his stances on issues,” Zemina said. “From that point forward we’ve both been much more interested in politics and the alternatives to the mainstream options.”

logo 1-01-really-really-small

NOTE: District 58’s seat came open earlier this year when Plant City native Dan Raulerson (R) — who won the Nov. 2016 election — resigned citing health and business concerns. The spurred December’s special election.

Libertarian candidate history in Florida for special elections – U.S. and FL races

TLI talks To U.S. Senate Candidate Paul Stanton, Who Won Florida’s Libertarian Primary And Is Polling At 10% For Nov. 8 General Election

: This was the first in a series of interviews with Libertarian TheLibertarianIdentity-Squarecandidates from around the country. Our next interview was with Ruben Corvalan of Texas, who is once again running for the U.S. House seat in District 23.

This summer, Paul Stanton—a Libertarian candidate for current Senator Marco Rubio’s seat in Florida—talked with The Libertarian Identity writer Brian McLaughlin about his background, his most spirited positions and what he would bring to the table if he was elected. Stanton won the first statewide Libertarian primary in late August, receiving 74 percent of the vote.

Stanton, 31, was born in Oklahoma and spent parts of his childhood in Arizona, Illinois and then finally in Fort Wayne, Indiana—where he graduated high school. He was taking the military’s ASVAB test in high school the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 … with the media center TVs showing the footage live while the testing took place. When he watched the second plane hit the tower, it was then that he knew he wanted to serve his country.

RELATED: Why I’m voting for–and volunteering for–Paul Stanton

RELATED: Paul Stanton’s BallotPedia page

His first “postsecondary degree” came from the School of Hard Knocks—in Baghdad, Iraq in the Army. Those experiences would set the table for the strong beliefs he espouses today, something that seems to be a theme with many military veterans who have joined the ranks of the Libertarian Party.

When Stanton finished his six-year tour in early 2009—as an E-5 Sergeant—he went back to school at Indiana University-Purdue Fort Wayne (IPFW). His chosen career path is computer programming and data analytics, and he works for Frontier Communications—and was able to relocate to a company branch in Florida a year ago.

The reason for the move? “To be closer to my family,” Stanton told TLI. “People tend to move to Florida when they get older and my family is no exception.”

He resides in DeLand: Home of Stetson University, nestled between NASCAR and the Mouse King—Daytona Beach and Orlando. Stanton has been a contributing member with the Libertarian Party since 2013 and has voted Libertarian since returning from Iraq in 2008.

: “Paul, in talking to you before, it seems your military experience in Iraq is one of the driving forces behind your political activism. Can you talk us through what happened and how it affected you?”

STANTON: “Do you mind if I share a story? I was overseas in Iraq and we were in a rural area southwest of Baghdad. I was with a bomb squad, and if people would find a roadside bomb, they would call us to go out to it. When we got there, I ordered the gunner to pivot to the direction we’d most likely be attacked. It happened to be this house. And a bunch of kids came out of the house and we gave them candy and toys like we always did. And my gunner looked down at me and said, ‘You know, if they were in our country aiming guns at my house, I’d want to blow them up too.’ And before that I’d never really thought about it at that level. It was really a profound moment, and as the tour continued, I realized more and more that a lot of their actions were actually very understandable, and that’s really unfortunate to say.”

RELATED: Three more key endorsements come to Stanton, one week short of primary

TLI: “So in effect, your strongest stance is the ‘Anti Nation Building’ issue that so many Libertarians tend to agree with?”

STANTON: “Yes, ultimately what I’m against is the government initiation of force and coercion and the most blatant example of that is war. Whether it is war overseas, the war on drugs or the war on the poor. With the wars overseas, it’s a clear example of where we’re killing many innocent people for reasons many times they don’t even understand. And domestically with drugs and the poor, we have a situation where even with the best of intentions it isn’t working. Why ruin a kid’s life just because he tried something his friends asked him to try? It’s a ridiculous miscarriage of justice. Look at the war on the poor—we have a situation where we have poor people with safety nets, yet we also tax them and when we give that money back to them, it comes with strings attached. I think with all three—the war overseas, on drugs and on the poor—we need to remove the paternalism and use of force, because the government is doing horrible things.”

TLI: “So when you were out of the Army, how did the ball begin to roll with your activism. What was that first step, so to speak?”

STANTON: “Well, back in 2009 when I got out, I moved back to Fort Wayne and moved in with my sister for a while to get readjusted. I went to college at IPFW and while I was in college I became an Anti War activist—Students Against War. We tried to show people how horrible things were … Initially it started out with me and another veteran, but she didn’t end up being as active so it ended up that I was the only veteran with the group. Some of them were a little older but most were 18 to 20 years old. It was mostly Libertarians and Socialists. The Anti War Democrats were no longer interested because Obama was already in the White House and they seemed to think that struggle was over now. The problem is, having ‘hope’ for something and actually having the confidence it will happen are two different things.”

CHECK OUT THE HOME PAGE: The Libertarian Identity

TLI: “So anti-war is clearly your No. 1 priority. What’s No. 2 on the Stanton list?”

STANTON: {Laughs} “You mean I didn’t give you two or three already? It’s really what we talked about earlier, the war on drugs. Look at the war on drugs—the stop-and-frisk policies. People get shaken down and then have to prove their innocence. It’s an awful system we’ve created where people are subjected to government force. And just to make it clear, this is not the police officers’ fault. They are not to blame.”

LibertarianIsmTLI: “That is a hot-button topic right now, for sure. I know police officers who privately will tell you they wish they could stop chasing marijuana-related crimes—users, small-time peddlers, growers—and start chasing what they call ‘real’ criminals. Tell us more about what you think of how the police are being treated right now?”

STANTON: “Well, while police officers are agents of the state, they’re also victims of the state. They have a really, really tough job. How can you hate a brave guy, really? But we need to change the system so the police officers don’t have to go after people because of a plant, so they aren’t wasting their time going after these victimless crimes. Some Libertarians have different views on this, but I don’t think the overall dialogue in our party is anti-police by any stretch. Johnson and Weld are anything but anti-cop. Or Peterson, or (past LP presidential candidate) Bob Barr. They don’t blame the police, they blame the system. Let’s be honest, you have some Democrats who think police officers are all horrible and some Republicans who say cops can do no wrong. Come on! I don’t think either side is totally true.”

RELATED: Democrat applauds Stanton, blasts Invictus during debate closing remarks

TLI: “OK, I’m glad you brought up Johnson and Weld and some of the other big names in the party. Let’s pivot a second to the horserace. I think we all know that 2016 is about to be the ‘Year of the Libertarian’. The writing seems to be carved into the political façade already. How blessed do you feel running this year with all of the attention the party is getting?”

STANTON: “It definitely is a good time. I’m actually a little bit disappointed this year in the low number of Libertarian candidates actually running in Florida. That’s rather unfortunate. But this is an amazing opportunity. Not only might we actually have a Libertarian President, the up-ticket surge is going to be a huge boost for down the ticket. If we don’t do well in this election, it will be shocking.”

PAUL-STANTON-WITH-MCAFEETLI: “You received video endorsements from John McAfee and Darryl Perry and you did the official nomination speech for the late Dr. Mark Allan Feldman at the LP National Convention. Gov. Johnson has also verbally endorsed you.What was it like to receive those votes of confidence?”

STANTON: “It’s deeply flattering. It really is. Some of these people are personal heroes of mine. I’ve supported them in their endeavors and now they’re supporting me in mine. And it’s a big responsibility. I of course need to keep true to the message, the message of liberty. And I need to ensure that the endorsement wasn’t made in vain. It’s sort of amazing to think that I voted for Johnson and Gray in 2012 for President of the United State, and now they’re behind me. They’re all wonderful people.” EDITOR’S NOTE: Stanton also received endorsements from 2012 Vice-Presidential candidate Judge Jim Gray mentioned above and 2016 LP Presidential candidate Kevin McCormick, as well as six Florida Libertarian affiliates- Volusia, Collier, Pinellas, Broward, Palm Beach and Northwest Florida (Pensacola-Fort Walton Beach area). 

StantonSmilingTLI: “Just like with Gov. Johnson and Gov. Weld, it’s important to be in polls and hopefully the debates too. I think for the U.S. Senate position, they called it the ‘Snitker Paradox’ back in the 2010 U.S. Senate race because no entity consistently included Alex Snitker in their polls—and only Rubio, Crist and Meeks were acknowledged. Do you get the feeling that will be different for you this year? And what would you do if you were able to win the primary and then get into that debate forum with the Republican and Democrat nominees?”

STANTON: “That would be amazing. I would definitely bring a different message to the table. I don’t have the same baggage of the Democratic and Republican frontrunners (as of early August, Rep. Patrick Murphy and Rubio, respectively). I would have a very strong showing and get the message of liberty and peace out there. That’s one thing lacking with the other party frontrunners. The ‘old’ parties, I guess you’d call them. Ultimately, the duopoly is going to continue in Florida and nationwide until we have election reform.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stanton officially “qualified” to be on the ballot in June, as did his primary opponent Augustus Invictus. There was a $10,400 qualifying fee to get on the ballot, and both met the deadline and set up the first Libertarian primary in Florida history for a federal election. Only three states had Libertarian primaries for a federal election, the other two being in Missouri and Alaska.

I divorced the Republican Party- Here’s Why

By Brian McLaughlin, TLI

Today, I made the short walk down to the snail-mail box and sent a printout to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections.

I didn’t change my address, I committed to a new, fresh political philosophy—I simply put “LPF” where I had always put “REP or NPA” all the years prior. Since I first voted in the 1996 election, I’d never broken that tradition. So, yes … that’s right, I’m now Libertarian. And actually, I’m now a “VL-LPF-FL”—which stands for “Very Loud-Libertarian Party of Florida-For Life”.

Like immigraLibertarianEmblemnts who left the “old country” to come to America, I won’t be going back to my old home—and I’m sad about how things have gone there. The political atmosphere of today is just another version of Civil War and suppression and the famine of the soul, and similarly, a Napoleonic-like figure has emerged just like he did when so many of my ancestors fled to America.

I no longer want to vote within those confines. Never again will I vote for my 5th or 6th favorite Republican after all of the good ones have been eliminated in the first few weeks of the primaries. That party doesn’t represent me, maybe it never really did.

Though I respect freedom of religion like I respect all of our freedoms, I feel as though religion has seeped too much into the Republican Party, forcing its candidates to fake their way through those sorts of talking points. I’ve gagged many times. Also, I’m frustrated with the pendulum-swing effect that has happened with Trump. Trump has appealed to people who are angry about the Obama years, just like Obama’s base was angry about the Bush years and the Bush base was angry about the Slick Willy years … need I go on? I’m tired of anger replacing reasonable thought—that “style over substance” silliness that has prevented an outstanding candidate like Ron Paul from ever gaining traction. And with the left, I’m tired of the platitudes and lack of reason replacing the answer to that simple and critical question—how are you going to pay for that?

2_1_2016_johnson8201_s878x683And by the way, voters don’t seem to understand that a pendulum isn’t stuck in endless Left-Right mode—a two-dimensional quagmire. A pendulum can swing in other directions if you just know how to change its trajectory.

This year, I don’t think a 3rd Party run is going to be dismissed by the electorate, I have this gut feeling it is going to be embraced. Am I being idealistic? Maybe. But this year, the general election is going to have three candidates who are in the double digits—I can just feel it. And maybe, just maybe, a Libertarian candidate could snag the electoral votes from half a dozen or more of those Bernie or Cruz states, or one of the purple states. It is ripe to happen if we are handed Trump-Clinton as an election option.

Admittedly, I’m a political junkie and have been since my childhood. Make that a political nerd.

Here’s one of those polls that proves this isn’t an ordinary year…..

In 4th grade, I got in trouble at school for distributing a handwritten “presidential choice” tally sheet where you could put your name under Reagan or under Mondale. I brought it on the school bus and to school and passed it around for all of my classmates to sign. And hey … it was actually a pretty accurate poll, because I think Reagan won our elementary school poll 47 to 3, which is just about the same proportion as the electoral college rear-end whoopin’ later that November. My teacher wasn’t amused and took my poll away and ripped it up and threw it in the trash, said it was like passing notes in class. I disagreed.

She must have been a Democrat.

Yep, I suffer from severe political nerdism. Don’t worry though, I take three tablespoons of Real Clear Politics a day and it helps me focus.

There’s another thing to admit to—driving my Facebook buddies crazy with political banter. Anybody else suffer from this affliction? Nestled between the 735 photos of babies and recipes for chocolate-peanut butter goo cake and selfies are posts from me begging my family and friends to “wake up”. That this circus currently going on is damaging us. But I’m pretty sure a bunch of them have muted me.

So instead of wasting my time ranting on a Facebook feed to a handful of friends and family, I decided to put my money, my mouth and my effort into trying to be a part of the solution. Any kind of tiny contribution an individual can make should be channeled into the movement.

I’m happy with the decision to leave the Republican Party, and I know I’m one of many thousands to do it. And there’s no way in scorchin’ Hades I ever would have voted Democrat.

I have found a new home, a new political beginning at 41 years of age. The potential is endless, the room for growth eye-opening. These Libertarian candidates are approachable, down to earth. The party structure lacks the collective ego of the larger, “heavy” campaigns–it consists of concerned individuals, small business owners … people who simply want to protect our guaranteed rights and want the federal government at permanent arms length.

This is the year, a Perfect Storm kind of time … things are aligning perfectly for a Libertarian to not only be on the ballot, but be in the hearts and minds of American voters who didn’t even know the party existed. Election turnout is going to be huge, record-breaking, and we must seize these new voters and convert those who are fed up with the old country ways.

It’s time, and I am beyond enthusiastic to be a part of it.

Blog at

Up ↑