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    Spoiler Alert in VA Governor Race

    Spoiler Alert in VA Governor Race

    Spoiler candidate alert: Libertarian Robert Sarvis is a third-party candidate in the 2013 Virginia governor’s race. Although polling reveals that it is unlikely for him to win, will he split votes away from Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli in the process?

    Election day is less than 60 days away, and Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe are in crunch time.  However, neither candidate option fully satisfies voters. According to a recent poll of likely voters, only 34% of likely voters hold McAuliffe in a “favorable” opinion, and only 35% hold Cuccinelli in this regard.

    Reflecting the mood of the Virginia race, Barton Hinkle likened the choice to “choosing between Sauron and SpongeBob Squarepants.”

    For Virginia voters torn by this dilemma, Robert Sarvis may be an exciting prospect.  Born and raised in the Northern Virginia area, he possesses a background prime for Virginia politics. Impressively, he received his undergraduate degree from Harvard, went on to receive a degree in mathematics from the University of Cambridge, a J.D. from N.Y.U School of Law,  and a Master’s in economics from George Mason University.

    Sarvis champions the campaign slogan, “Virginia: Open-minded, and Open for Business.” According to his campaign website, he espouses ideals of personal and economic freedoms. Having a mixed race heritage, he promises to bring diversity to the position.

    However, despite his impressive background, it is unlikely that Sarvis offers Virginians a plausible alternative winner.

    Notably, his greatest obstacle is that as a third party candidate, he does not command the same media spotlight or campaign spending dollars as McAuliffe or Cuccinelli. For example, he was not invited to a recent Virginia gubernatorial candidate debate.

    But, will Sarvis be to blame if Cuccinelli loses the election?

    At this time, Cuccinelli seems likely to lose whether Sarvis runs or not. For evidence, compare polling data that pairs only Cuccinelli and McAuliffe against each other, to data that includes all three candidates. When only Cuccinelli and McAuliffe are paired, McAuliffe is in the lead at 48%-42%. Meanwhile, data that includes all three candidates depicts McAuliffe at 45.2%, Cuccinelli at  37.3%, and Sarvis is a distant third at 9.5%.

    Judging by this criteria, it appears that McAuliffe is the front-runner, with or without Sarvis, for the time being. However, as the momentum of his campaign picks up, this may change in the future.


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    Why didn’t he run under the Republican ticket?

    Everything he said in the interview is smart and sensible. What drove him away to the Libertarian ticket?

      MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to Aucturian. | September 13, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Here’s my view. After the anti-war left, environmentalist kooks, radical feminists, gay rights extremists, economic Marxists and every other radical fringe element highjacked and took over the Democrat Party in the 1960s, the two major political parties decided that the Democrat Party would position itself as the party primarily of civil liberty and the Republican Party would position itself as the party of economic liberty. Libertarians think civil and economic liberty are both very important. However, when it comes time to vote, many libertarians ascribe to the late Milton Friedman’s position. Friedman once said that he considered himself a small “l” libertarian and a capital “R” republican. Meaning he has, generally, a libertarian worldview philosophy but he votes Republican. But some libertarians feel so strongly in their convictions that they are unwilling to make that compromise. I guess this guy is one of those.

      casualobserver in reply to Aucturian. | September 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Almost without exception, libertarians who run as Libertarians will say they choose not to run on the GOP ticket because they differ so strongly on certain social issues/platforms.

    PersonFromPorlock | September 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Time for the Libertarian party to call on the Republican candidate to withdraw so he won’t take votes away from their guy. Won’t work, but a satisfying jab nevertheless.

    1) He probably went to Libs because of social issues; 2) It’s a misconception that Libs always cost GOP votes. Most Libs, when faced with a race with no Lib candidate, will split 3 ways – 1/3 each to Reps, Dems, and staying home. I’m a former state LP chair.

    IMO, GOP could get lots of Lib votes if they promised to eliminate 1 department, or introduce a bill to eliminate 1 department or 1 program, and followed through. Just 1. Show you’re really committed to smaller government. Unfortunately, most Republican candidates are too dumb to figure this out. A promise to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse is so much bs.

    Lina Inverse | September 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    But, will Sarvis be to blame if Cuccinelli loses the election?

    From what I’ve been reading, the Republican Party, especially the state party, will be to blame if their current standard bearer loses. You can do only so much damage to your brand before you become generally uncompetitive.

    Carol Herman | September 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Ross Perot redux. But the republicans NEVER learn.

    MacAuliffe is a very big “macher” in DC. And, while lots of people aren’t too enthused about seeing him governer; they’re NOT willing to vote for republicans! So a 3rd party candidate comes along. And, splits the vote.

    If you still think the Bush Family provides “presidential timber” … you remain in the minority. Hoping a party wins that against abortion. And, tries to solve problems by slapping the bible on it. (Or what Dubya called “Compassionate Conservatism.”)

    If you don’t know lots of Americans are angry at the republicans, then you’ll never learn how to field a candidate … Like Ronald Reagan … who knew how to reach out to blue-collar democratic voters. AND, who was a two time governor of California. A BIG BLUE STATE.

    Bet’cha hate Christie like nobody’s business.

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