From left, Greenwood City Council At-Large candidate James Sceniak, a Libertarian, listens to Libertarian presidential candidate Chase Oliver while axe throwing at Hoosier Brewing Company on Saturday.

Noah Crenshaw | Daily Journal

One of the men running for the Libertarian nomination for president stopped in Greenwood on Saturday, telling prospective voters he offered a “clear vision” that other parties’ candidates do not.

Chase Oliver, one of seven running to be selected by Libertarian delegates as their nominee for president, believes 2024 is the year for the Libertarian Party to break out and make waves as voters face the increasing possibility of a rematch between incumbent President Joe Biden, a Democrat, and former President Donald Trump, a Republican. The 38-year-old Atlanta man told a small crowd of people gathered at Hoosier Brewing Company on Saturday that more voters will start to feel dissatisfied with a rematch and will want to look for the alternative that he represents.

Before he ran for political office, Oliver was in the restaurant industry for 13 years, eventually moving into the corporate maritime trade industry. He began his political activism opposing the war in Iraq under former President George W. Bush when he was a teen. He once identified as a Democrat but he later joined the Libertarian Party in 2010.

Oliver first ran for office in 2020, running in a special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis in Georgia. Last year, he ran for U.S. Senate in Georgia.

Although he did not win in either race, he was widely credited with forcing Georgia’s U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker into a runoff. Oliver secured more than 2% of the vote in the race, running a grassroots campaign in which he spent just more than $14,000.

Rolling Stone called him the “most influential Libertarian in America” last year, referring to his influence in the run-off election.

A self-identified “professional nerd,” Oliver is a big fan of Star Trek, which he says gave him hope for a better future.

“I saw in entertainment a world that was presented, that was a better future for all of humanity, so that’s what’s got me to my positive attitude,” he said.

Oliver is running for president on a platform emphasizing immigration and criminal justice reforms as a man who is both pro-police reform and pro-choice. He is also pro-Second Amendment, describing himself as an “armed and gay” Libertarian who owns a .38 special revolver.

“Armed gays are harder to bash,” Oliver told the small crowd of about seven Saturday at Hoosier Brewing in Old Town Greenwood.

Last month, Oliver spoke at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair — something that typically only Republicans or Democratic candidates are invited to. His appearance marked the first time a third-party candidate a third-party candidate had ever qualified to be invited.

“I broke that glass ceiling as the first candidate for president who is not a Republican or Democrat that’s ever been able to speak there,” he told the Daily Journal during an interview Saturday. “I think that’s indicative of the seriousness of our campaign.”

Saturday’s visit in Greenwood — a joint meet-and-greet with Libertarian Greenwood City Council candidate James Sceniak — was part of Oliver’s third trip to Indiana. Oliver says he has visited over 30 states so far.

He believes that anyone who is running for president should demonstrate the want and ability to travel to all 50 states.

“I want to prove to our convention delegates in real-time that I’m able to travel around the country, that I have the energy in the organization to get that done because I think that will give us a good indication that I’m a candidate who’s prepared for the long-haul in the general election,” Oliver said.

Broadly speaking, Oliver says he is “pro-make your own choices” and not “pro-the government making choices for you.” The interactions people have with the government should be voluntary, he said.

Libertarians seek to remove the force of government from people’s lives, and this includes supporting ending restrictions on certain things. For example, Oliver wants to make things easier for people who want to start a business by getting rid of tax cuts and subsidies that exist for big businesses and not small businesses.

“I want to get rid of those subsidies and lower the cost of corporate cost of doing business overall across the board,” Oliver said.

He is also a major proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, saying officials should “Ellis Island” the country’s immigration policy so anybody who wants to come to the U.S. can work and become members of communities without “being relegated to the shadows.”

As for the war in Ukraine, Oliver thinks U.S. support is exacerbating the conflict and does not support putting additional resources into the country’s fight against Russia. It’s time for European countries to take the lead — including financially, he said.

However, he said the U.S. should be working toward getting every refugee out of Ukraine, along with Russian dissidents out of Russia. This includes dissidents within the Russian military, he said.

“We would see a loss of morale in the Russian military,” Oliver said.

Oliver said he intends to campaign full-time, currently living with a friend and paying for expenses out of his savings. Through the end of June, his campaign has raised over $25,000 although this is compared to the millions raised by Biden and the top contenders for the Republican nomination.

Speaking in Greenwood, Oliver encouraged Republican voters who feel out of step with their typical party, to consider other options. The longer an area is run by one party and lacks competition, the more stagnant it could become. This is for both typically Republican and Democrat-held areas, he said.

“You need a third force — at least a third force if not a fourth or fifth party — to really create the competition that will hold your elected leaders accountable to you, the voter,” Oliver said.

If voters are dissatisfied with voting for Biden or Trump, they need to feel comfortable voting outside the two-party system. They also need to not think that voting third-party will help the other candidates win, Oliver said.

“We are not spoilers. The only thing that (has) spoiled is the two-party system and the only solution is breaking it,” he said. “So I encourage you to look outside the two-party system and really look at all your options on your ballot.”

Voters should never take their voice for granted, he said.

“It’s your voice and that’s the power that you have,” Oliver said. “When you sell it out to something that you don’t agree with 100% of the time, you really discount your own voice, so look for something different.”