Editors note: This article has been updated from its original to reflect party representatives stating that all paperwork is up to date and Mark Wicks is a legitimate candidate.
Montana Libertarian Party Chairman Ron Vandevender has resigned.
He said vice chairman Elinor Swanson will take his place.
“For my own sake and my family’s sake, I need to back down,” Vandevender said Monday morning.
“I’m not giving up Libertarian ideals.” He’s been state party chairman since the October 2016 death of Mike Fellows in a car accident north of Missoula. He lives in Craig, where he intends to run for election in House District 80 in 2018.
“After all this time, it’s just kind of catching up with me,” Vandevender said. “It’s just a combination of things, a little too much physical strain.”
He cited health problems facing him, his wife and family members as factors in his decision to resign.
The Montana Libertarian Party launched a massive reorganization after Fellows’ death, Vandevender said, including organizing more local and county groups and making the state group, which had been loosely organized, more cohesive.
“We’ve never hid that fact,” Vandevender said. “We’re not the best organized.”
“In a short period of time it’s really been a major step forward,” he said. That new direction will not change, he said.
“I don’t think it will,” he said. “I don’t see why it should.