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Weld delivers signatures to get Libertarians on Mass. ballot

William Weld delivered petitions to the secretary of state’s office Monday to put the Libertarian Party on the Massachusetts ballot. Weld, a former governor, is running for vice president on the ticket.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

A tall man in his 70s, sporting a tan suit and holding a large cardboard box, squeezed into the corner of an elevator Monday. One of nearly a dozen people riding up to the 17th floor of a state office building in Boston, he quietly quipped: “I feel like a Santa Claus: bringing good things.”

And then William F. Weld, erstwhile federal prosecutor, Massachusetts governor, Charles River swimmer, New York resident, and lobbyist, submitted thousands of certified voter signatures to place the Libertarian Party ticket for president and vice president on the November state ballot.

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It was the latest act of political theater from Weld, who is ginning up support and money for the Gary Johnson-Bill Weld campaign for the highest and second-highest offices in the land.

Before he began his ascent to the elections division of the secretary of state’s office, Weld held court for a few minutes with the assembled news media and made a subdued pitch for the relevance of his ticket, which is currently polling at about 8 percent in surveys of a four-way race, including presidential candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

“The ice is cracking a little bit,” he said. “Just this week, I’ve spoken with a few Republican members of Congress who are interested in reassessing their endorsements for the fall.”

And what of criticism that a vote for Johnson, a former New Mexico governor, and Weld, a US attorney in the ’80s and the Bay State’s governor in the ’90s, is a wasted ballot?

“We have a path to run right up the middle and win the whole thing here. In fact, that’s what I think is going to happen,” he said. “But Libertarians never tell other people what to do. So if anyone in the Commonwealth wants to waste their vote by casting it for Trump or Clinton, it’s OK with us.”

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Weld also weighed in on Governor Charlie Baker, his one-time mentee and Cabinet secretary, eschewing endorsing Johnson or any other November presidential election candidate.

“I’m not pitching Charlie because I think he’s very smart to stay out of the national campaigns,” Weld said, adding that Baker would be barraged by questions about campaign kerfuffle du jour if he were involved. “And he wouldn’t have time to govern here.”

The GOP has already submitted the paperwork for Trump and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence to make the Massachusetts ballot, according to a spokesman for Secretary of State William F. Galvin. The Green Party and the Democratic Party have until Sept. 1 to submit the paperwork to get their respective tickets — Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka; and Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine — before Bay State voters.

Weld delivered petitions to the secretary of state’s office to get the Libertarian ticket on the Massachusetts ballot.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff/Globe staff

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos. Click here to subscribe to his weekday e-mail update on politics.

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an error about ballot requirements for the Green and Democratic parties in Massachusetts.