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Posts Tagged ‘Rob Sarvis’

IMG_1089Recently, Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli has been promoting the idea of a series of debates between himself and Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe.  The Cuccinelli campaign has suggested fifteen debates across the commonwealth in a variety of locations including one in the Shenandoah Valley, in the city of Harrisonburg.

However, so far the McAuliffe campaign has not accepted this idea.  As a result, the Cuccinelli camp has run a series of ads on Facebook and elsewhere insisting that Virginians deserve a multitude of opportunities to hear from and learn about their choices for governor in November.

Now, I absolutely agree that debates serve as an important tool in campaigning and a handful of lively contests are exceedingly valuable.  For that reason, I wrote against my own representative back in 2010 when he refused to attend a debate sponsored by James Madison University.  Should McAuliffe agree to at least a few debates?  Yes, a thousand times, yes!

Unfortunately in this situation, Cuccinelli has fallen into the same trap as Representative Goodlatte did three years prior; the debate ought to be used as a forum to allow all candidates that will appear on the ballot to express his or her opinions.  Goodlatte would not debate back in 2010 because he only faced third party opposition.  Cuccinelli wants to debate in 2013 but according to fellow blogger Rick Sincere, plans to exclude at least one other candidate, Libertarian Party nominee Rob Sarvis.  This news is deeply disappointing.

This whole situation has echoes back to the national stage.  After Ross Perot’s performance during the presidential elections, Republican and Democratic operatives got together to make certain that independent and third party candidates would be excluded from future debates.  They created a monopoly among their parties.  After the Green, Libertarian, Constitution, and Justice Parties weren’t invited to take part in the 2012 Presidential debates, an organization called Free & Equal hosted a debate where all of the candidates, along with the two major party candidates, were invited to participate.  Not surprisingly, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney chose to attend.

I applaud the Cuccinelli campaign in their effort to bring the candidates to a vast number of citizens across Virginia.  However, to exclude any eligible candidate based upon his or her party (or lack thereof) is unacceptable.  Debates are a great thing, but to be legitimate, they must allow all of candidates the chance to express their opinions.

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LPVA Secretary Marc Montoni & Chairman Chuck Moulton

Yesterday, the Libertarian Party of Virginia held their state convention in Waynesboro.  About forty people attended the event, including a handful of nonparty members.  The main purpose of the gathering was to decide if and who the party should nominate for governor in the upcoming November elections.

The only candidate who submitted his name for consideration was Rob Sarvis.  For the record, Mr. Sarvis previously ran for the Virginia State Senate as a Republican against Dick Saslaw in 2011.

Mr. Sarvis’ candidacy seemed to run into a bit of a roadblock almost immediately.  Chuck Moulton, the chairman of the party, suggested removing the requirement that a person must have been a member of the party for at least 30 days prior to the convention in order to vote.  Presumably such a move would aid Sarvis as it was quite likely he brought several new members to the convention to support his cause.  However, this idea was rejected.

Next, Laura Delhomme, one of the coordinators for the 2012 Gary Johnson campaign, and Bill Redpath, a previous Libertarian candidate for governor, spoke in favor of nominating Rob Sarvis.  James Curtis, treasurer of the Virginia Libertarian Party, argued the position that the party should not have a candidate for governor.

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Virginia Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Rob Sarvis

Then, Mr. Sarvis came to the podium and discussed his political positions and experience.  He declared that his campaign would be “an opportunity to serve the cause of liberty”.  Afterward, he fielded questions and comments from the audience.  One major sticking point with a few of the delegates revolved around his work on an app called Pic Bubbler.  According to the app’s website it seeks to “get people naked” by creating the illusion of nudity.  Some worried that Sarvis’ association with the app could negatively affect perceptions of the party.  In addition, the leadership of the party raised quite a few hard-hitting doubts regarding Mr. Sarvis’ commitment to the party and his ability to spread their message; it seemed quite possible that the Libertarian Party would end up without a nominee.

Although a fair number of the eligible attendees did not vote, Mr. Sarvis was approved by a 14-5 margin.  Thus, assuming he collects the required number of signatures, Libertarian Rob Sarvis will appear on the November ballot alongside Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

No candidates stepped forward to be either the lieutenant governor or attorney general nominee for the Libertarian Party and so those two spots will remain vacant.

After that, the two Libertarian Party candidates for House of Delegates who attended the convention (of the ten statewide) spoke about their campaigns.  Keegan Sturdivant is running in the 8th district while Laura Delhomme is doing likewise in the 47th.

Although the convention itself had many contentious moments, with business concluded, the gathering took a more cordial tone, moving to the nearby Greenleaf Restaurant in downtown Waynesboro where attendees enjoyed dinner, drinks, and a few hours of stimulating conversation.

In comparison to the recent Republican conventions, Sunday’s Libertarian gathering was a good bit shorter and less theatrical.

So how will the Libertarian Party fair in the 2013 elections?  Will this year mark the election where they finally capture a seat in state government?  Only time will tell.

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