For the last several weeks, I have been wondering if anyone would seek the Libertarian Party nomination for governor. Robert Sarvis ran in 2013, but that was only the second time in Virginia history that the LPVA fielded a candidate for this position. Although Mr. Sarvis did run for the Virginia Senate in 2011, he was not well-known statewide before the 2013 Virginia Libertarian Convention in Waynesboro. When I asked if anyone would run this year, I was told that there were several prospective candidates but nothing was public yet.
As my search continued, I was given a name, Jason Carrier. Being the curious fellow I am, I sought him out and sent him a Facebook message hoping to learn more. Most importantly, I asked him why he was running. His response was, “The party needs a candidate to keep momentum up. I’ve been preaching Libertarian values to anyone who would listen for years, so I figured I would quit bitching and try and do something about it. It is about forcing the other two parties to compete in the arena of ideas, pulling them to a pro-liberty agenda.” As you might imagine, given my beliefs and support for political competition, I thought his answer was a good beginning.
On Saturday, March 11th, the 6th district Libertarian Party held a convention in Staunton, Virginia. I ended up sitting next to a fellow in a red button-up shirt and tie who turned out to be Jason Carrier. After the main business of the meeting, such as the election of officers and Will Hammer gaining the Libertarian nomination for the 20th district in the House of Delegates, Mr. Carrier took the floor.
Mr. Carrier spoke of about himself and his experiences but, unlike many other office-seekers, especially first-time candidates, his life wasn’t the central focus of his talk. Instead, he discussed a number of issues of importance to his campaign such as reducing taxes, regulatory reform, and even privatizing the roads in the Commonwealth. Perhaps surprisingly he had favorable things to say about one of his opponents, Republican candidate Denver Riggleman, who he said shared many principles with Libertarians. As a self-identified jarhead, occasionally Mr. Carrier would pepper his speech with some mild language that you wouldn’t expect from your average politician. After his remarks, he fielded a multitude of questions from the audience on a variety of topics. As one example, although most Libertarians are pro-choice, it was a pleasant surprise to hear a statewide candidate advocating for life.
Although brief, I have to say that I am impressed with Jason Carrier thus far. He seems authentic and not a typical politician willing to say whatever he thinks will earn your support. He spoke with conviction and didn’t waffle or appear dazed like some people do when they are caught in the high-beams of public attention. He didn’t avoid tough questions by shifting the discussion to other topics and was quite open and approachable. One interesting idea he proposed, and although I’ll admit I am ignorant of the subject, I’m not sure of the present viability of solar power producing roadways. Lastly, unlike some third-party candidates, he did not promise certain victory if given the party’s nomination, which is a pretty tough task given numerous legal hurdles, press barriers, and mindset of voters who are constantly told that supporting a third party or independent candidate is akin to “wasting their votes”. If he does not win, he seeks to capture at least 10% of the vote. Doing so would make it much easier for Virginia voters to routinely have a third choice in future elections. In addition, he hopes that his run will inspire more candidates to run under the Libertarian Party banner.
I’m looking forward to learning more about Jason Carrier as the campaign continues, but, as I’ve said, my first impressions were quite positive. If you’d like to meet him in person and you live in the Harrisonburg area, I’m told he’ll likely be stopping by the next meeting of the Rocktown Libertarians on the evening of March 21st.