Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Kitty Burton says she will stay in the race despite pressure from within the party for her to withdraw.

Burton said on Friday she would continue her campaign because representing "individual choice" is the Libertarian thing to do.Libertarian Party officials have been trying to persuade her to withdraw in behalf of Merrill Cook's independent candidacy.

Ron Paul, the party's presidential nominee, endorsed Cook because of his tax-limit postures during a Capitol rally on Wednesday. He, too, asked Burton to step aside.

But the 49-year-old candidate told reporters at a news conference Friday that continuing her bid was "a matter of choice, (and) therefore, my candidacy is intact."

"I have thought about it, prayed about it and have determined there is no need for me to withdraw in favor of anyone," said Burton.

"Those who choose to support me can, (and) those who choose to support Merrill Cook should do that," she said.

Although party officials side with Cook's tax positions, Burton said she was unsure where the independent stood on Libertarian "principles of moral non-aggression and individual rights."

She said she owed it to the party to stay on the ballot as a "building block" for future Libertarian inroads.

"If I can garner 2 percent of the vote, the Libertarian Party has ballot status for 1990," she said.

"If Mr. Cook doesn't win on Nov. 8, he won't be remembered on Nov. 9. But the Libertarian Party will still exist," said Burton.

She was the only Libertarian to file for governor this spring.