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How Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root took over the Libertarian Party

The Bob Barr campaign couldn't have plotted it any better. The former GOP congressman-turned Libertarian Party contender announces his candidacy two short weeks before the LP convention, and grabs more free media than 2004 nominee Michael Badnarik received in a year. He arrives in Denver amid bellyaching and heckling and a sea of "Mary!" stickers, and gets reporters talking about the drama of a deadlocked Libertarian convention. C-SPAN stays glued to the proceedings for all of Sunday, through six ballots that turn out closer than the results of an Olympic track meet. And when it's all over, Barr gets both the nomination and a running mate, Wayne Allyn Root, whose views comport comfortably with Barr's own.

The results may have been ideal for Barr, but they weren't plotted out that way. Early in the balloting on Sunday, Barr's strategists—and the candidate himself—thought the Radical Caucus might have beaten them. The boos and catcalls that came when Barr supporters staged a whooping march around the convention floor were louder than they expected. The 25 percent Barr scored on the first ballot was lower than everyone expected. "The Barr campaign needs to be a steamroller to win this," Steve Kubby strategist Tom Knapp said early in the day. "They needed to win 40 percent to keep people from peeling off."

Barr didn't steamroll, instead grinding out a series of ties with radical favorite Mary Ruwart before the Las Vegas businessman Root dropped out and sent his support Barr's way, wrapping up the nomination.

Here's how Barr/Root won the nomination: