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Libertarian Sarvis To Run For Senate In Virginia

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Robert Sarvis, who just last year made headlines by running a stronger than expected race for Virginia Governor as a Libertarian, plans to get into the race for the United States Senate:

Robert Sarvis, the libertarian candidate who won 6.5 percent of the vote in Virginia’s gubernatorial election last year, is back for Round 2.

Sarvis told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Wednesday that he plans to challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in the midterm election.

“I finally got the go-ahead from my wife and told the Libertarian Party folks that I am going to run,” he said.

Sarvis would need to win the nomination at the Libertarian Party convention on Feb. 8 — at this point, he’s the only candidate in the running — and gather 10,000 signatures to get on the November ballot.

He will face a similar dynamic as he did in the governor’s race, when he ran against well-funded Democrat Terry McAuliffe and GOP Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Warner, an incumbent, will raise a significant amount of money to defend his seat — and with the entrance of former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie into the race on the GOP side, Virginia’s Senate race now promises to be high-profile and expensive.

Still, despite being vastly outspent in 2013, Sarvis had a stronger-than-usual showing for a libertarian candidate — and he says there’s an opening for him again this year.

As I noted several times during the 2013 race, it seemed clear at the time that one of the main reasons that Sarvis was doing so well in the polls seemed to be because the public had an overall negative view of both candidates, even though that ended up hurting Cuccinelli in the end more than it hurt McAuliffe. That same dynamic is unlikely to be in play this time around. Senator Mark Warner is generally well-liked by Virginia voters. He left office as Governor with some of the highest approval numbers of any incumbent in recent member, for example, and one his first term in the Senate in 2008 by a wider margin than President Obama won the state that same year. Additionally, he has had generally high job approval numbers throughout his time in the Senate. Presumptive Republican nominee Ed Gillespie, meanwhile, is a relative unknown to Virginia voters but his record suggests that he’s unlikely to be viewed as negatively as former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was. Given this, it may be hard for Sarvis to break through the way that he did in 2013. If either candidate should slip, though, or if general public frustration with Congress should become a factor in the race, then we may see Sarvis picking up some steam and, perhaps, having the same kind of impact on the race that he did in 2013.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Pearce says:

    Until the Libertarians rethink some tenets of their philosophy, the best they can hope for is to “impact” a race.

    They’ll never win one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  2. Stonetools says:

    I expect Warner to win in a walk, with minimal impact from Sarvis. Virginia is turning blue!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. Mikey says:

    @Stonetools: Warner won even when Virginia was a lot redder. He’ll certainly be hard to beat now. He was very popular as governor too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. grumpy realist says:

    Are we going to get a Republican on the docket as well? In which case, I’ll take “Tilting at Windmills” for Round One….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. grumpy realist says:

    Totally OT, but did anyone notice that in the same WSJ that had such a fulsome editorial praising our “Kristallnacht” VC there was an article gushing about how top hair stylists are now hiking their prices to over $1000 per haircut?

    The tumbrils and guillotines can’t come soon enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist: Well, the Kristallnacht analogy was silly and overblown, obviously.

    But wishing for tumbrils and guillotines–is that really appropriate? It seems to me that kind of thing just proves Thomas Perkins’ point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  7. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey: @grumpy realist: There’s an article at POLITICO this morning about how the 1% are worried about people disrespecting them, and maybe doing something about it(1). I won’t provide a link because POLITICO. It reminded me of reading history of the Great Depression. You see constant references to the wealthy fearing the revolution they were sure was just around the corner(2). Now and then: Paranoia? Guilty conscience? Projection? They know something we don’t know?
    ___________
    (1) Republicanism in a nutshell – They not only want to be allowed to grab every nickel in the country, they want us to admire them for it.
    (2) and might have been had FDR not saved their asses. For all the thanks it got him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. gVOR08 says:

    Doug, good. My reaction to the headline was “Doug’s off on his libertarian kick.” But you seem to have a completely realistic view of Sarvis’ prospects and likely impact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08:

    There’s an article at POLITICO this morning about how the 1% are worried about people disrespecting them, and maybe doing something about it

    I just read that, it was interesting. Here’s a brief piece on the Washington Monthly site that addresses it:

    The Rich Folks and Their Pity Party

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: I predict that the juxtaposition of the $1000 hairstylist article and WSJ’s fulsome editorial will do far more to incline people towards tumbrils and guillotines than any comment I’ve made. And if they don’t want people muttering comments under their breath about the French Revolution, they shouldn’t act like members of the Ancient Regime.

    It reminds me of an ad campaign done by Macy’s or Bonwit Teller many years back, where they decided to shoot the fashion ads against a background of wretchedly poor peasants in the Andes mountains. The abysmal juxtaposition of poverty-stricken peasants living on pennies a day next to ungodly expensive (and frivolous) clothing worn by supermodels just somehow never occurred to the nitwits who made up the ad campaign. There was a furious backlash from the Boston public. (The department store apologized and set up a channel for donations, which was quite successful.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  11. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Bonwit Teller

    Wow. To quote Kenobi: “Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time…a long time.” Wiki says they went bankrupt and were liquidated in 1990.

    Anyway, I’m not saying “the 1%” are blameless angels, but when someone wishes actual death upon you, it tends to create some tension, no?

    Republicans get accused–and rightfully so–of treating their political opponents as mortal enemies. Isn’t what some on the left are doing exactly the same thing?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  12. rudderpedals says:

    I hear what you’re saying but it’s probably pointless to bring nice words to a pre-Godwinized fight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  13. Matt Bernius says:

    @Mikey:

    Republicans get accused–and rightfully so–of treating their political opponents as mortal enemies. Isn’t what some on the left are doing exactly the same thing?

    This.

    Remember the words of St. Nietzsche:

    He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. wr says:

    @Mikey: “Anyway, I’m not saying “the 1%” are blameless angels, but when someone wishes actual death upon you, it tends to create some tension, no?”

    You know, when you tank the entire world economy on bets where you get rich even if you lose, where you pay off the government to make sure you’re never held responsible, when you send tens of thousands of jobs overseas so you can make a few more bucks, when you buy off state governments so they never inspect your plants until they blow up destroying entire neighborhoods or spew chemicals and poison the drinking water for an entire region… you kind of need to to expect people are going to say mean things about you.

    You want to be loved? Do something worthy of love. You want people to stop wishing you harm? Stop harming people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  15. Anonne says:

    Former Republican Senator John Warner endorsed Mark Warner over Gillespie. Ain’t looking good, no matter how you slice it, for the VA GOP.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/va-senate-race-john-warner-backs-mark-warner-howie-lind-drops-out-of-gop-contest/2014/01/27/0b239834-877a-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html

    That makes me happy.

    That said, Sarvis must be doing a Palin or Christine O’Donnell, I think… running because running in and of itself is lucrative – or at least pays a bunch of bills.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    Republicans get accused–and rightfully so–of treating their political opponents as mortal enemies. Isn’t what some on the left are doing exactly the same thing?

    I’m reminded of a line from Raiders of the Lost Ark. “Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not endorsing the “guillotine” stuff. I’m just observing that people on the right have felt incredibly comfortable slurring people on the left, often in comical nonsensical ways.

    Perkins: The left are trying to pull a Krystalnacht on us rich folks.
    Blog commenter: Actually, a better metaphor is the French Revolution…you know, with guillotines and such.
    Perkins: See? This just proves my point. They really do want to kill me!

    C’mon, man. That’s ridiculous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. James Pearce says:

    Jonathan Chait puts it like this:

    The Journal’s editorial underscores that the widespread mockery of Perkins, far from piling on a bewildered plutocrat, actually understates the broader problem. Perkins’s letter provided a peek into the fantasy world of the right-wing one percent, in which fantasies of an incipient Hitler-esque terror are just slightly beyond the norm. The Journal editorial defines persecution of the one percent as the existence of public disagreement. Liberals are mocking Perkins, therefore Perkins is basically right. For Perkins to be wrong — for the rich to enjoy the level of deference the Journal deems appropriate — a billionaire could compare his plight to the victims of the Holocaust and nobody would make fun of him at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. Mikey says:

    @wr: I’m 100% in favor of criticism when warranted, and even prosecution and imprisonment if necessary. But there’s a difference between legitimate criticism–even “saying mean things”–and wishing actual death upon someone. The latter does not elevate the discourse. It does not move people toward reason. It does the opposite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce: It wasn’t “a better metaphor is the French Revolution,” it was “the tumbrils and guillotines can’t come fast enough.” The difference is not subtle. The latter says, quite directly, “they want to kill me.”

    The problem is both sides are too comfortable slurring those on the other side. Period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    It wasn’t “a better metaphor is the French Revolution,” it was “the tumbrils and guillotines can’t come fast enough.” The difference is not subtle. The latter says, quite directly, “they want to kill me.”

    On a scale of 1 to 10 how confident are you that grumpy realist a) wasn’t being facetious and b) wants actual heads to roll?

    Me, I’m pretty confident –on a 10 level– that the comment was indeed facetious and is more a “figure of speech” than a call for public executions of the bourgeois.

    The problem is both sides are too comfortable slurring those on the other side.

    This is definitely true. But what’s the solution? Turn the other cheek?

    I guess that brings us back to Salah. “Very dangerous. You go first.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. rudderpedals says:

    Perkins’ offensive and hysterical comparison is intended to silence the rest of us. That his comments would draw derision and insult should have been completely foreseeable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. wr says:

    @Mikey: I have heard no one actually wishing death on any rich person. I have heard rich people whining about how people wish death on them, and when they go on to describe the circumstances it turns out that someone was merely refusing to pay them the worship to which they feel entitled.

    I can’t say I’m a fan of the movie “12 Years a Slave,” but the one thing that rang really true was the slavers’ terror that the slaves are going to rise up and kill them in their beds. This is the price to be paid for building a fortune at the expense of the vast majority of people — not so much the revolution, which is a historically rare occurrence, but the fear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Mikey says:

    @wr: Saying “the guillotines can’t come fast enough” sounds a lot more like wishing death than merely refusing to show deference.

    I’m pretty sure Grumpy Realist, who posted that line yesterday, does not actually wish to send rich people to the guillotines, but that’s because I’ve been reading her posts for a long time and believe it would be uncharacteristic of her. But I also think would not be surprising for someone who hadn’t gotten to “know” her via this medium to infer a threat from that statement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    On a scale of 1 to 10 how confident are you that grumpy realist a) wasn’t being facetious and b) wants actual heads to roll?

    Me, I’m pretty confident –on a 10 level– that the comment was indeed facetious and is more a “figure of speech” than a call for public executions of the bourgeois.

    I am equally certain, but as I just replied to wr, that’s because we’re familiar with her. Someone who is not could easily infer a threat.

    But what’s the solution? Turn the other cheek?

    Refuse to play the game.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    Someone who is not could easily infer a threat.

    I think that would be a bad faith reading of something that was quite clearly not a threat. First clue….tumbrils and guillotines.

    Refuse to play the game.

    The game has already started. This is just asking for a forfeit. Why don’t we let it play out and see who wins?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0