HOLMBERG: A viable Libertarian candidate for Virginia governor?

Posted at 12:57 AM, Oct 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-02 08:50:09-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Could there be a viable third-party candidate for Virginia governor this election?

Based on recent polling data and the enthusiastic reception at the Cary Street Café Tuesday night, Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis’ star may rise in time given voter unhappiness with the current ballot.

“I just wish you the best!” said one enthusiastic supporter at the bar and restaurant whose owner enthusiastically invited Sarvis to come meet and greet.

“I want to say thank you for standing up for what I believe in,” said another.

“Something has gone wrong between the relationship of citizens and their government,” Sarvis said. “There’s a sense that the government no longer serves us, we’re serving the government.”

Sarvis, 37, is an Annandale software developer with a law degree; married with two children. His bio:

He’s been polling 7 to 12 percent, on a shoestring.

And he believes the shutdown of the federal government is clear evidence the two-party system isn’t working.

“I think that’s why we need better ideas, people who are willing to talk to voters as adults and actually not just resort to all the demagoguery,” he said.

He believes both Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe have high negatives, both outside and inside their parties.

He can reach their voters, he believes, if they can just see and hear him. He’s scrambling to be a part of the upcoming and final debate.

“The more voters we meet, the more our chances of winning go up,” he said.

He’s a supporter of school choice, and believes in decentralizing health care, with smarter and less state regulation.

“We shoot ourselves in the foot with state regulations that cartelize the supply of health care professionals,” Sarvis said. “Every generation adds a layer of regulation on top of the previous one, and it’s just suffocating the market.”

He also supports legalizing marijuana.  “I think it’s doable . . . it’s a freedom issue. It’s an economy issue. It’s a jobs issue.”

Sarvis blames the Republicans for being obstructionists who have offered no alternate ideas for health care. And he blames the Democrats’ plan for centralized health care.

There are real answers to the health care problem, as well as the looming crisis of more than 70 million baby boomers entering retirement age, he said.

Sarvis  said he entered politics because he “got really frustrated with politicians who aren’t really serving the public, aren’t really trying to understand what the problems stem from. And when you don’t really understand the nature of a problem, you can’t propose solutions that are going to solve the problems. So what we get is a lot of regulation that make things worse and creates the problems a future generation is going to have to deal with.”

You can watch the video and do some reading online about Sarvis, his history and what wiser political heads are saying about him. This is an interesting one, click here. 

But ask yourself this: Can you remember a gubernatorial race here in which the main two-party candidates are so vigorously disliked by those in opposing parties – and even by some in their own?

I can’t. As it stand now, the election will hinge on whoever comes out on top of a titanic unpopularity contest.

Never has there been better time for a third-party candidate. My guess is Sarvis will definitely be a spoiler, and maybe even a contender.