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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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I have no love for the Big ‘L’ Objectivist Collective, but best of luck all the same. Fight to win, but mostly fight to upset the apple cart. Shaking up the Establishment is never a bad thing.

Virginia will survive.

“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.”

*yawn* Not impressed. What has he actually *done* besides collect degrees? Reading his wiki page, it looks like not much at all.

Go to college for 15 years, do a little lawyering, work on an Android app, think you can run Virginia. Makes sense.

    riposte3 in reply to angela. | September 13, 2013 at 10:21 am

    “Go to college for 15 years, do a little lawyering, work on an Android app, think you can run Virginia. Makes sense.”

    Hey, he’s done more than the guy who got elected to run the entire nation. Virginia should be simple in comparison.

    On a more serious note, beyond the multiple degrees he has founded his own company from scratch, which appears to be at least moderately successful. That gives him real-world experience to go with the degrees.

    And really, I doubt he could be any worse than the “accomplished” candidates.

      Ditto that. Speaking as a VA resident, Hinkle was on the money with his description of the two main candidates.

      punfundit in reply to riposte3. | September 13, 2013 at 10:37 am

      The President doesn’t run the entire country.

      He just thinks he does.

      Eh, call me crazy but I like to see several years of real world private sector experience from my politicians. Not being a Virginian, this particular race only matters to me from a partisan political standpoint, but it’s pretty sad that this guy is possibly the *best* of the three main candidates with his sparse real world experience.

      Fancy degrees mean nothing to me if you’ve never or rarely used all that knowledge to prove that you can effectively interact with, negotiate with, inspire, and lead average Americans.

      That he has more experience than Obama is *not* saying much. 🙂

    raven in reply to angela. | September 13, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Quite right. Who’s still impressed by these scrambled eggs of academic degrees? People with such CVs have driven the country to near ruin.

Given the efficiency of The Clinton Machine (except when an affirmative action candidate is in competition for President), I am moved to wonder if a third party candidate’s entry is just part of their calculus to get McAuliffe in office. Maybe Republicans should clandestinely enter a communist party candidate into the race to peel off some Democrat votes. Ha.

I would rather see the 3d party candidate win. But I am living with Hoax and chains, so I must be delirious.

The assumption seems to always be that Libertarian candidates will cost the GOP votes, so why doesn’t the GOP go after those votes? A couple of steps closer to freedom and away from big government could yield a bumper crop of voters.

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.

    punfundit in reply to daitken. | September 13, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I might also help if 1) they actually accomplished something, 2) they were something other than Democrat-Lite, and 3) see #1.

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.

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.

The whole concept the Republicans are pushing that Libertarian candidates take away Republican votes is sheer bull hockey. We are not Republicans and most of us left the Republican Party because we have as little use for them as we do for the Democrats.
I view them as being so similar in purpose that I usually refer to them as Demopublicans and Rupublicrats.
We may vote for a Republican or even a Democrat here and there but that is usually when we have no choice but the lesser of two evils. Rand or Ron Paul I would vote for but take your McCains and your Rommneys and keep them. We have no use for any of them.
We are the only party who actually have a basic philosophy that we all mostly agree with. Your Republican and Democrat candidates are only in it for themselves and fall to political expediency every time.
A good example is Jeff Flake. I voted for Flake because I viewed him as someone who would stand up for my gun rights and stand against illegal immigration. The bastid violated at thrust as soon as he was in office.
We don’t take away Rebublican votes because our votes were never republican to begin with. If the Republicans want the Libertarian vote they should try removing their heads from their collective arses.

i would have thought that Sarvis is taking equally from prospective Cuccinelli and McAuliffe voters

Cuccinelli is the only reason I am voting this November. As little love as I have for the Democrats, I will turn out just to vote against him.