The Libertarian candidate for Governor of Virginia Robert Sarvis is not going away.
The 37 year old Harvard educated software engineer and lawyer is a long shot to being the next person to call the Executive Mansion home but his burgeoning support is no longer able to be ignored and could play a big role in the final debate of the campaign.
A group of polls released on Friday show Sarvis's support ranging from 8%-10% of the electorate. Organizers for the final debate set for later this month have said that Sarvis must pull at least 10% support in a "credible" poll in order to earn an invitation. The debate will be hosted by WDBJ and Virginia Tech and they said they will make a final decision late next week.
At this point there is not enough data to make a clear declaration as to which major party candidate suffers the most from Sarvis's candidacy. Terry McAuliffe (D) is clearly in the lead, that lead ranging between 5 to 7 points. However that lead over Ken Cuccinelli (R) doesn't change all that much without Sarvis in the poll. It seems that a good bulk of the Libertarian's support comes from voters dissatisfied with both major party choices. There is an argument to be made that those voters wouldn't vote for McAuliffe or Cuccinelli if Sarvis were not an option.
The Cuccinelli campaign is warning its right leaning and libertarian voters that Sarvis is a much bigger threat to their candidate. Sarvis, who is working to tap into the burgeoning libertarian/ Tea Party movement ran for a the State Senate in 2011 as a Republican. He told Politico that he probably voted Cuccinelli for Attorney General in 2009. (This after telling them that he didn't think he voted in 2009)
He has the support of libertarian nominee for president in 2012, Gary Johnson but could not earn the support of lean government hero Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). Paul is backing Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli senior advisor Chris LaCivita said libertarians who truly want to see a limited government will be handing the election to big government McAuliffe.
"A vote for Robert Sarvis isnt just throwing your vote away," said LaCivita "It's giving your support to Terry McAuliffe."
There are liberals concerned about Sarvis as well. Lowell Feld of the popular lefty blog Blue Virginia made a long list of reasons why Sarvis is a bad choice for progressives.
Despite the growth in Sarvis's support, most voters still don't know much about him. We conducted a lengthy interview with him over the summer. The bulk of that interview has yet to be released. It should give you a pretty good idea of where he stands as a candidate.
You can find the interview below: