As Virginia approaches its November 5th election, activists are pondering all sorts of questions. Will Ken Cuccinelli launch a surprise comeback to become the state’s next governor? Will the Democratic Party sweep the three statewide offices for the first time since 1989? Will Mark Obenshain win the attorney general’s race, proving to be the one bright spot for the Republican Party on Election Day? However, one question that will also have a lasting impact on Virginia politics is, will Robert Sarvis meet or exceed the 10% mark?
For some, this last question might sound a bit odd. Isn’t who wins or loses the election the only important factor? What difference does it make if Sarvis gets 1%, 5%, 10%, or even 15%? Well, if Robert Sarvis captures at least 10% of the vote, that means that Virginia would now have three major recognized political parties, the Democrats, Republicans, and the Libertarians. For the Libertarians, this switch would mean easier ballot access. For example, although the Libertarians nominated Sarvis by convention in April (similar to how the Republican nominated Cuccinelli in May), the Libertarians were under the additional burden of being required to collect at least 10,000 signatures from registered voters to actually get Sarvis on November’s ballot. For a smaller party, like the Libertarians, this effort meant considerable manpower and funding. If Sarvis gets 10% or more, should the Libertarians nominate a candidate via convention for the 2014 Senate race, they would be free from this task, at least for the next several years.
With these thoughts in mind, will Sarvis make 10%? Recent polls indicate that he could, but many activists are skeptical. That being said, fellow blogger Shaun Kenney of Bearing Drift stated today on Facebook that Sarvis will reach the 10% threshold. Anyone else care to offer their predictions?
This morning, around a thousand individuals gathered at the Festival Center on the campus of James Madison University. I arrived a little after 8:30 AM for an event which was slated to begin at 10:30 and already the line stretched around the building. Along with fellow blogger Nick Farrar, we checked in at the press table and awaited the start of the rally. About an hour later, a group of nine gathered outside to show their support for the Cuccinelli campaign while another local activist drove his truck down the street with signs of the three Republican candidates.
It seemed that just about everyone who was anyone in local Democratic politics attended, including past mayors and party leaders. About a third of the seats in the room were reserved for them. Given that seats were at a premium, a vast majority of the crowd had to stand.
After a few individuals spoke, including the Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia and a former Republican member of the House of Delegates, both gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and former President Bill Clinton took their turns in front of the podium. Rather than offer you a summary of what they said, here is a recording of both speeches:
To the best of my knowledge, this event was the largest, and thus arguably most important political event in Harrisonburg since candidate Obama spoke at JMU in 2008. Does this event herald a victory for McAuliffe in Harrisonburg and statewide? We’ll find out in a week.
Earlier today, I read a brief post on the Daily Paul entitled “Neo Cons Supporting Robert Sarvis Libertarian Party Candidate For Governor of Virginia?!“. It was written by a user calling himself Stonewall Jackson, which I assume means that he or she likely hails from our great state of Virginia. In the piece, the author writes that both George Will and Jennifer Rubin support Libertarian Robert Sarvis “over Ron Paul endorsed Ken Cuccinelli”.
Obviously the author seeks to discredit Sarvis, Will, and Rubin through the use of the label “neo con”. I know that I, like just about every Paul supporter, don’t have a fondness for the neoconservative philosophy. I’ve argued that their foreign policy plans actually weaken our defense by spreading our forces across the globe in order to police the world, prop up unpopular dictators, and install leaders favorable to the United States often against the wishes of the local populace. Here at home, I worry that neo-cons seek to surrender many of our civil liberties to the ever-expanding authority of the state.
I won’t claim much familiarity with Jennifer Rubin, but in my brief research, I belief that she is, in fact, a neo-con. But what about George Will? I certainly didn’t think he is a neoconservative, but let’s find out what we can discover. Please note that this information comes from Wikipedia. Let’s see…he “has proposed that the United States withdraw all troops from Afghanistan”. Hmm, that doesn’t sound very neoconservative to me. In addition, “He also criticized the Bush administration for engaging in warrantless surveillance and supported trials for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.” Yeah, I can get behind these proposals as well. What’s more, he favors legalizing drugs, wants to abolish the minimum wage, and opposes the death penalty.
Now, maybe I’m off base here, but in my experience in politics I would typically call a person who holds the positions listed in the previous paragraph a libertarian, not anything approaching a neoconservative. In fact, I would assume that most neoconservatives would not be terribly receptive to these ideas. As further proof, on September 13, 2013, Reason magazine declared George Will “has become a champion of libertarianism“.
Although I know that there is a rift between my liberty-minded brothers and sisters in Virginia over next week’s elections, spreading false labels and misinformation does not advance our cause in the slightest. Unfortunately, the campaign to be the next governor of Virginia has devolved into the nastiest, most personal, and dishonest struggle that I think I have ever witnessed and, what makes it even worse is that it has trickled down to spoil the grassroots.
Agree or disagree with George Will’s opinions all you like, but please don’t resort to personal attacks, especially those based upon little to no legitimate evidence.
I have just received word from the Harrisonburg Republican Party that lieutenant governor candidate E. W. Jackson will make a stop in downtown Harrisonburg on Wednesday. The details are as follows:
“E.W. Jackson will be at the Rockingham County Courthouse on Court Square in Harrisonburg Wednesday October 30th at 4:30 P.M. E.W. Jackson will be laying out his agenda for his role as Lt. Governor if elected as a part of his Statewide tour to promote Conservative Governing principles.
“The media and various local officials will be in attendance. Right now E.W. is tied with his liberal opponent in the polls.”
Update: Today’s emails indicate that this event has been cancelled.
With less than two weeks to go until Virginia holds its gubernatorial election on November 5th, it seems that the Democratic Party has decided to bring in the big guns to promote their candidate, Terry McAuliffe. As part of his final tour of the state, former President Bill Clinton will be joining Mr. McAuliffe. According to news from Deb Fitzgerald, Chairwoman of the Harrisonburg Democratic Party, both Clinton and McAuliffe will be on the campus of James Madison University on Tuesday.
Here are the details:
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
WHAT: “Putting Jobs First” Event with President Bill Clinton and Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe
WHO: President Bill Clinton, Terry McAuliffe
WHEN: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 10:30 AM EDT
Public Access time: 9:30 AM EDT
Press Access time: To be announced
WHERE: James Madison University, Festival Conference & Student Center – 1301 Carrier Drive, MSC-4201, Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Regardless of one’s political affiliation, this is the highest profile event for the city of Harrisonburg since Barack Obama came here during his campaign for president. I know I plan to be there and hope to get my press pass soon.
As the title of this piece indicates, today Andy Schmookler and I recorded our fourth radio show on 550 AM WSVA. For this first time since we began, Jim Britt has returned to his role as the host of Middays. In case you missed the program starting at 10 AM, you can find it here.
In two weeks, Virginia voters will face a number of important decisions regarding the future of this state. In the race for attorney general, for those of us who support liberty, the choice is very clear. Mark Obenshain is our candidate. I’m proud to say that I’ve known Mark Obenshain for more than a decade and had the opportunity to volunteer on his first campaign. Throughout his time in the Virginia Senate, I believe he has consistently stood for the principles of limited government conservatism. And he’s not afraid to voice his opinions, even when in the minority. We need leaders who are willing to stand for principle, even when that requires standing alone. Mark Obenshain has done so in the Virginia State Senate and will do so as our attorney general.
Now some of his opponents have been attacking him on a rather unfortunate bill that he proposed several years ago. Yes, that decision was a mistake and when he realized the implications and flaws with it, he quickly withdrew the legislation. Nevertheless, there are those who have been using this single issue to distort his positions. However, when taken as a whole, conservatives, libertarians, and independents should be pleased with Senator Obenshain’s voting record and ought to be excited about the prospect of having him serving as our next attorney general.
Much like his father, I believe Mark Obenshain and I both agree with the viewpoint that “the most important goal in my life is to have some significant impact in preserving and expanding the realm of personal freedom in the life of this country.” As such, I’m pleased to offer my endorsement to Mark Obenshain and encourage my fellow Virginians to join me in casting their ballots for him on November 5th.
Yesterday evening, Ken Cuccinelli held a gathering in Lynchburg to speak with a handful of liberty-minded individuals in the 6th district of Virginia about his race for governor. My understanding is that he sought to create a dialogue between himself and open-minded, libertarian leaders. As such, the chairman of the Harrisonburg Libertarian Party and I made the two-hour drive to meet with him. All in all, there were eight of us including the attorney general and his campaign staffer.
Prior to this meeting I crafted a list of the points that I wanted to address, to explain what I thought had gone wrong with his campaign and, in this late hour, what he could do if he wished form a tighter relationship with people like me. However, when Ken Cuccinelli looked at me, I confess that I became extremely disheartened. As my longtime readers know, I have a lot of respect for the man. But when I looked into his eyes, I didn’t see his typical spirit of determination but rather the pangs of a soul staring down a bitter defeat.
In many ways this election has been a series of unfortunate events for Cuccinelli. Seven months ago, I was all but certain of his victory. After all, he was squaring off against Terry McAuliffe, a man who lost the Democratic nomination in 2009, who has no elected experience, and isn’t particularly liked by anyone, including members of his own party. His major claim to fame is his ability to fundraise and his ties to the Clinton machine. And yet, less than three weeks before Election Day, Cuccinelli stands on the brink of oblivion, on the verge of what could be a particularly unfortunate end to a promising and successful political career.
There is no question that the Cuccinelli campaign has gone astray. Last night I tried to make the point that his campaign had failed him, that they traveled too far down the road of negativity without a positive counterbalance losing, not only the undecided voters, but a huge swath of the Republican faithful as well. Yes, they have had one excellent ad, but that was it.
The liberty-minded Cuccinelli that many of us came to know and love in 2008 through the early days as attorney general has gotten lost in the mix. Now it is true that the McAuliffe campaign tactics are awful as well, which has only served to sour voters against both men and look to the direction of the issue-oriented Sarvis campaign. Although I had been attempting to speak with Cuccinelli for a number of months, his handlers always turned my request aside. Despite some claims by other leaders in the liberty movement in Virginia, as far as I have observed, Robert Sarvis has done a far better job reaching out to people like me.
We also briefly discussed the issue of Robert Sarvis’ exclusion from the final debate. Many of us agreed that if Cuccinelli wants to broaden his appeal to liberty-minded voters, he ought to actually engage Sarvis, including supporting his inclusion into the debate. In a recent article, the press reported that only the Cuccinelli campaign holds Sarvis back, as both the McAuliffe camp and the debate organizers seem to be willing to allow him in. But I do not believe that Cuccinelli or his campaign will budge on this point, which will only expand the sense of alienation some small “l” libertarians have with Mr. Cuccinelli.
Just because I have worked for the Sarvis campaign, have volunteered some of my time, and believe Robert Sarvis is an excellent candidate for governor, I take no joy in the prospect of Ken Cuccinelli’s probable defeat. As I have said many times, I firmly believe that a Cuccinelli victory would be far better than a McAuliffe governorship.
Although I applaud Ken Cuccinelli for reaching out and meeting with us last night, to make a more lasting impact such a meeting should have taken place months ago.
On the drive back home I wish that I could say that I felt better about the direction of the Cuccinelli campaign, but that simply isn’t true. I expect that they will continue down their disastrous path and thus deprive Virginians of a leader who is far better than the caricature the McAuliffe campaign has presented. As such, given everything that has transpired and everything that is likely yet to come, I left Lynchburg feeling a lot of sympathy for Ken Cuccinelli, wishing his campaign had taken the time to actually highlight his positives and boldly advocate positions important to those of us in the liberty camp.
Dr. Astrid Sarvis, wife of Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis, offers her thoughts about Robert’s exclusion from the final debate.
Although Mr. Sarvis will be on the ballot alongside Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe next month and has been polling quite well, often preferred by 10% or more of the respondents, he has not be allowed to participate in any of the debates with the other candidates. This blatant and intentional exclusion of Robert Sarvis is both unacceptable and a sad reflection of the political climate in both Virginia and the nation.