Libertarian candidate hopes to attract disgruntled voters

MANASSAS, Va. – He’s 36, a Harvard-educated lawyer from Annandale and he’s running for governor.

Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for governor, has earned a 7 percent rating in the latest polls, but he’s hoping voters turned off by the negativity of the two major party candidates will flock to him.

“The two major party candidates exemplify all that’s wrong with their respective parties. Voters can only be pushed so far before they reject the two-party system,” he says.

Sarvis has never held political office. He ran two years ago as a Republican against Democrat Dick Saslaw, who leads his party in the state Senate. Sarvis finished with 37 percent of the vote.

On the issues, Sarvis sounds like a hybrid of the two parties. He favors decentralizing transportation projects and education, giving local leaders more control over funding.

“I would like to see much more control given to parents and free teachers from bureaucracy,” he says.

But he also favors state recognition of same-sex marriage and he says abortion is an individual issue that the government should steer away from.

He favors banning gifts to politicians, an issue which has dominated the campaign this year. But he says it is the climate in Richmond that is the main problem.

“As long as we have as much discussion and big government dolling out favors, we’re going to have people trying to get around whatever ethics laws we have,” he says.

Sarvis faces an uphill battle to get elected. No independent has been elected governor since the late Harry Byrd in 1976 and the last independent to poll in double digits in a statewide election on Election Day was Marshall Coleman, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994.

Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe are running as well. The current governor, Bob McDonnell, is barred from running because of term limits.

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