Who is Chase Oliver? Things to know about the Libertarian presidential candidate

Georgian is third party’s pick for president
Chase Oliver, the CEO of the Libertarian Party of Metro Atlanta, is the national party's nominee for president in this year's election. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Chase Oliver, the CEO of the Libertarian Party of Metro Atlanta, is the national party's nominee for president in this year's election. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

The Libertarian Party selected Atlanta activist Chase Oliver as its nominee for president Sunday.

Oliver has lived in metro Atlanta and been a presence in Georgia politics for a few years. He was a featured guest on Tuesday’s ”Politically Georgia” podcast, where he talked about his presidential bid.

Here are a few things to know.

Platform: As president, Oliver pledged to respect and support individual choices and reduce the federal government’s influence on those choices. For example, he said people in every state should have the right to seek an abortion, but he would encourage passage of the Hyde Amendment to restrict government funding of abortion clinics, according to his campaign website.

He wants to eliminate all U.S. foreign aid to Israel and Ukraine but would continue to offer “moral support.” During his acceptance speech, Oliver said he wants to end the “genocide in Gaza,” The New York Times reported.

He also wants to get rid of the USA Patriot Act, which was enacted during the George W. Bush administration following the 9/11 attacks. Oliver said he sees the legislation as an unconstitutional increase of government oversight and would also want to eliminate the Transportation Security Administration.

Oliver additionally pledged to abolish the death penalty, end qualified immunity to allow more cases brought against federal law enforcement, and decriminalize cannabis as well as pardon those convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.

Describing himself as “armed and gay,” according to The Times, Oliver emphasizes his opposition to restrictions on firearm possession and use.

Electoral history: Oliver, a former Democrat, is now a member of the Libertarian Party, unlike his competitors for the nomination, former President Donald Trump and lawyer and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

During the 2022 race for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, Oliver challenged Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. He won 2.1% of the vote, and because Georgia law requires candidates to win a majority of votes, Oliver’s candidacy forced Warnock and Walker into a runoff election.

He also ran in 2020 in Georgia’s 5th Congressional District special election to fill the unexpired term of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat and civil rights icon who died of cancer earlier that year.

Local issues: Oliver has been a vocal critic of Atlanta’s effort to build a new public safety training center for police. During a 2023 Atlanta City Council meeting, Oliver spoke about why he opposes construction of the new facility.

“There are lots of stuff that we can do to improve policing. Creating giant training facilities so they can crack down on entire populations probably isn’t the way to do it. It’s probably not the best use of money, either. It’s costing us,” he said.

His career: He is the CEO of the Libertarian Party of Metro Atlanta. He also worked in the restaurant business for 13 years, according to an Indiana newspaper, before moving into the corporate maritime trade industry.

Personal life: Oliver is 38 years old and was the first openly gay Senate candidate in Georgia. When he ran for the Senate, he wanted to adopt new federal civil rights protections for the LGBTQ community. He describes himself as a “professional nerd” and a big fan of “Star Trek,” the newspaper reported.

His running mate: Oliver is running on the Libertarian ticket alongside Mike ter Maat, who served as a police officer in Florida from 2010 to 2021, according to his website. He walked out while Trump spoke to the audience at the Libertarian Party’s nominating convention.

Oliver’s chances: Third-party candidates have a tricky time achieving a critical mass to win elections. Jo Jorgensen and Spike Cohen, the Libertarian Party’s picks in 2020, won just 1.2% of the vote.

Oliver’s name may not even appear on the ballot for all 50 states, but Georgians will have a chance to vote for him.

Oliver joins other Georgians who have run for president as third-party candidates, including former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, the Libertarian nominee in 2008, and former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who ran that same year as the Green Party candidate.

Oliver says he is not running as a spoiler candidate.

“The only thing that (has) spoiled is the two-party system, and the only solution is breaking it,” he told the Indiana newspaper.

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PG A.M.: Atlanta’s Chase Oliver wins Libertarian nomination for president
Politically Georgia | Atlanta’s Chase Oliver wins Libertarian nomination for president