Revolution

Howard Stern Announces Candidacy for Governor

In March 1993, "shock jock" Howard Stern announced he would run for the Libertarian Party nomination for governor of New York.

Libertarians split over whether to accept or reject Stern as a candidate. Supporters believed Stern could attract large numbers to the party and help gain permanent ballot access. Opponents distrusted Stern's sincerity and adherence to party ideas, and thought Stern's image embarassed the party.

Stern was the first celebrity to run for a Libertarian nomination. At the time, his radio show was heard by an estimated 20 million listeners nationwide, in several New York cities, Los Angeles, Dallas, New Orleans, Cleveland, Boston and El Paso.

The Federal Communications Commission, which Libertarians advocate abolishing, had recently fined Stern's show $1.67 million for indecency. Stern's employer, Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, was fighting the fines in court.

Stern's announcement has attracted significant attention to the Libertarian Party. Geraldo Rivera did a show on the party, and the BBC called for background, said Tamara Clark, the party's national marketing director.

Stern's beliefs more or less fit with the libertarian philosophy. Stern supports freedom of expression, individuality and drug relegalization. Stern supports the death penalty, an issue libertarians are divided on.

Among Stern's detractors was his competitor for the nomination -- the front-runner before Stern's entry -- Buffalo lawyer James Ostrowski.

"He makes a living offending people with lowbrow, sophomoric humor. Is that the type of guy who's going to accurately portray our ideas to the people of New York?" Ostrowski said.

"For people who don't like Howard Stern's brand of entertainment, there's a thing on the radio that changes the station or turns it off," said Steve Dasbach, the party's national chairman. "That's the idea of freedom of individual choice that the Libertarian Party stands for."