Libertarian Crashes the Party on Virginia’s Debate Night

Virginia gubernatorial candidates Democrat Terry McAuliffe, left, and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli talk before a Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce debate Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, in McLean, Va.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
Add to Briefcase
Sarah Mimms
Sept. 25, 2013, 5:15 p.m.

Halfway through Wed­nes­day even­ing’s con­ten­tious gubernat­ori­al de­bate in Vir­gin­ia, a fe­male voice asked a ques­tion that was likely go­ing through the minds of many voters: “Can’t vote for either of these guys?”

Liber­tari­an Robert Sar­vis, who has been gain­ing in re­cent polling thanks to voters’ dis­sat­is­fac­tion with both of the main party can­did­ates, ran his first 30-second tele­vi­sion ad dur­ing the de­bate, tout­ing him­self as an­oth­er op­tion. Com­ing on the heels of more than 30 minutes of heated de­bate — in which Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee Terry McAul­iffe ac­cused his Re­pub­lic­an rival, At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Cuc­cinelli, of sup­port­ing a so­cial agenda that is bad for wo­men while Cuc­cinelli ac­cused McAul­iffe of want­ing to sell Vir­gin­ia to the highest bid­der — Sar­vis cri­ti­cized both can­did­ates, of­fer­ing Vir­gini­ans a third choice.

“Like you, I can’t vote for Ken Cuc­cinelli’s nar­row-minded so­cial agenda. I want a Vir­gin­ia that’s open-minded and wel­com­ing to all,” Sar­vis said in the spot. “And like you, I don’t want Terry McAul­iffe’s cronyism either, where gov­ern­ment picks win­ners and losers. Join me, and to­geth­er we can build a Vir­gin­ia that’s open-minded and open for busi­ness.”

While each of the ma­jor party can­did­ate’s neg­at­ives have ris­en over the past few months of an in­creas­ingly nasty cam­paign — 36 per­cent of voters said they had an un­fa­vor­able opin­ion of McAul­iffe in this week’s Wash­ing­ton Post-Abt SRBI poll, and a full 47 per­cent of voters had an un­fa­vor­able opin­ion of Cuc­cinelli — Sar­vis has be­gun to see an up­tick among voters clearly dis­sat­is­fied with both of their op­tions. The Post poll showed him with 10 per­cent sup­port among Vir­gin­ia voters in a three-way con­test, while a WRC-TV/NBC News/Mar­ist poll con­duc­ted around the same time showed him with 8 per­cent sup­port.

Sar­vis was not in­vited to par­ti­cip­ate in the de­bate, which was pro­duced by WRC-TV in Wash­ing­ton and aired on NBC af­fil­i­ates throughout the com­mon­wealth.

The ad was smart and well-timed, but it offered little in­form­a­tion about Sar­vis him­self, who sup­ports “re­spons­ible drug use” and gay mar­riage. It also neg­lected to men­tion his party af­fil­i­ation un­til the word “Liber­tari­an” ap­peared on-screen at the end of the ad.

A third-party can­did­acy is al­ways an up­hill battle, par­tic­u­larly for a can­did­ate like Sar­vis, who is not well known and has little in the way of money or a ground or­gan­iz­a­tion. But Sar­vis could pull in double-di­git sup­port in Novem­ber, po­ten­tially in­flu­en­cing the out­come of what is likely to be a low-turnout con­test.

What We're Following See More »
STARTS LEGAL FUND FOR WH STAFF
Trump to Begin Covering His Own Legal Bills
21 hours ago
THE DETAILS
DISCUSSED THE MATTER FOR A NEW BOOK
Steele Says Follow the Money
23 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."

Source:
BRITISH PUBLICIST CONNECTED TO TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Goldstone Ready to Meet with Mueller’s Team
23 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."

Source:
SPEAKING ON RUSSIAN STATE TV
Kislyak Says Trump Campaign Contacts Too Numerous to List
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."

Source:
“BLOWING A SURE THING”
Sabato Moves Alabama to “Lean Democrat”
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login