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Two to face off in Florida’s first Libertarian U.S. Senate primary

Florida’s first-ever Libertarian Party primary for U.S. Senate features one contender, Augustus Sol Invictus, who says he killed a goat and drank its blood in a pagan ritual a few years back.

By contrast, the other Libertarian contender, Paul Stanton, an Army veteran who served six years in Iraq, looks downright mainstream – especially for a party that clings to the fringe.

Stanton also has picked up endorsements from several Libertarian groups and the party’s presidential nominee Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who is making his second run for president this year.

“I firmly support the Libertarian principle of non-aggression as an Iraq War veteran and peace activist,” said Stanton, a computer programmer who lives in Deland.

Stanton also casts himself as the only true Libertarian candidate in the race. His rival, a lawyer whose name is a Latin phrase meaning “majestic unconquered sun,” has advocated for revolution.

Invictus, who has declined to disclose his birth name, has released a set of “LSD Journals,” that he described as composed in “real time” while using the hallucinogenic.

Then there’s the animal sacrifice — which came after he said he walked from Florida to the Mojave Desert, fasting and praying for a week in 2012. Then, apparently, things turned bad for a goat.

Invictus, though, does acknowledge that being a pagan could hurt him among some voters.

In the party primary on Aug. 30, only registered Libertarians will get to choose their nominee. And it’s hard to tell how much of an impact this nominee could have in November.

On the national stage, Johnson, who believes in limited government and legalized marijuana, drew 1 percent of the vote in the 2012 presidential race, a level some analysts think could climb this fall, with many voters uneasy about both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In Florida, the most prominent Libertarian may have been Adrian Wyllie, who attracted support from 3.8 percent of voters in the 2014 governor’s race.

Wyllie resigned last September as Libertarian Party chairman in protest of Invictus’ candidacy.

Stanton, who later joined the race, is campaigning on a platform that calls for cutting business taxes to spur free market competition, decriminalizing all drugs, and supporting a foreign policy that promotes “compassion and understanding.”

Invictus, who two years ago drew some attention for helping legally represent a former Central Florida neo-Nazi leader, said he was denied entry into Canada earlier this year because of his background.

Scheduled to give a speech, Invictus said his “expulsion from Canada was due to political reasons.”

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