Virginia Libertarian Sarvis could shake up the election for governor

by Susan L Ruth, The Washington Times  |  published on September 20, 2013

WASHINGTON — With both Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe bringing scandal and bad press to the Virginia gubernatorial election, Libertarian Robert Sarvis could become the deciding factor in November’s election.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows McAuliffe and Cuccinelli in a virtual tie. While the poll technically gives McAuliffe a slight lead over Cuccinelli, that lead falls within the margin of error.

Although polling shows that it is unlikely Sarvis will outright win the election, he has held a surprisingly high percentage for a third party candidate ranging between 5 and 10 percentage points. That could split votes and push one of the major candidates into victory.

In the past, third party candidates have had a difficult time gaining momentum in Old Dominion. The last Independent candidate in Virginia was Russ Potts in 2005. Potts was polling at 5 percent in September 2005 and ultimately only received 2.22 percent of the vote.

Third party candidates often have an uphill battle competing against other candidates who have the backing of major political parties. They are often ignored by the national media, they are shut out of debates and the funding available is substantially less. Even navigating the complex process to get their names on the ballot is much more difficult for an Independent candidate.

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