Support for third party candidate grows amid combative Va. governor’s race

WASHINGTON — The Virginia governor’s race is a boxing match between major party candidates, but the vitriol could be helping the race’s third party hopeful.

“Virginia gubernatorial debate starts ugly, works its way down,” was the headline a CNN blog gave to summarize Wednesday night’s prime-time encounter between Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli and Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe.

Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis thinks the race’s tone is giving him an edge. Sitting in the audience during the debate on NBC4, Sarvis noticed “a lot of people tweeting that I won the debate because of how negative the other candidates were.”

There’s a chance Sarvis could be invited to attend the next gubernatorial debate. “As long as we can maintain our double digits in some of the polls … I think we’ll be included,” says Sarvis.

A recent Washington Post poll shows Sarvis could get 10 percent of the vote. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

The next and final debate is Oct. 24 at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.

Sarvis says his campaign offers Virginians a better option to major party candidates, who he says “have very high negatives for good reasons.”

Summarizing his strategy, Sarvis says he’s “running a mainstream moderate campaign that appeals to people on the left and the right and the forgotten middle.”

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