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Libertarian Candidate's Impact on Virginia Governor's Race

Libertarian Candidate's Impact on Va. Governor's Race

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver reports on the gubernatorial campaign of libertarian Robert Sarvis, who insists he's not a spoiler to Ken Cuccinelli. (Published Thursday, Oct 31, 2013)

    With 20 days until Virginia's gubernatorial election, the commonwealth's libertarian candidate for governor, Robert Sarvis, is campaigning hard.

    While the latest poll released Tuesday by Christopher Newport University shows Sarvis with only 11 percent of support from likely voters, analysts suggest his presence in the race could have a significant impact on his Republican and Democratic challengers.

    Wednesday afternoon Sarvis headed to a Reston shopping center to meet would-be voters.

    "I'm Rob Sarvis running for governor. I'd love to have your support," he repeated to the many lunchtime faces.

    While most took his pamphlet and walked on, others, like Harvey Jones, wanted to learn more about the libertarian's background.

    "What made you run for governor?" Jones asked. "Based on what's going on in Washington right now, I'm looking for an alternative."

    Jones says he's an independent and he's frustrated with the mainstream choices for Virginia's next governor, Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

    He isn't sold yet on Sarvis but he was certainly intrigued.

    "I'm independent and I try to vote for the best candidate I can," Jones said. "And I listen to what they say but I watch what they do."

    Sarvis is polling well among likely independent voters like Jones, attracting some 30 percent according to the CNU poll.

    However, Cuccinelli supporter Erika Dyer thinks Sarvis is hurting her candidate. She supported him in 2011 when he ran as a Republican for state senate.

    "For him to have jumped ship to the libertarian party two years later, it's really disheartening," Dyer said.

    University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato also weighed in: "With the libertarian in, there's virtually no chance that Cuccinelli can win. Even with the libertarian out of the race, if he were to suddenly drop out, which he won't do, I don't think Cuccinelli could win even then."

    But Sarvis doesn't see it that way.

    "The polls say what they say, and it's clear that my support is coming from both sides,” he said. “I think there is a lot of anxiety in the Cuccinelli camp and among their supporters, simply because they're behind McAuliffe.”