Joining Team Sarvis

Photo by Marc Montoni

Lately, many of you may have noticed that I have been writing a good deal about Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for governor of Virginia and are likely wondering why.  Well, although I believe Ken Cuccinelli has done many great things for our state during his time in public service, I also firmly believe that his campaign is proceeding in a terrible direction, one that has succeeded at not only alienating considerable numbers of traditional Republicans, but also undecided voters.  They are poisoning our politics and they are poisoning the GOP.  Now, unlike some Republican strategists, that doesn’t mean that I’d like to see Terry McAuliffe win.  My principles have not changed.  However, these developments have caused me to look in new directions and thus I have decided to lend my efforts to the cause of Robert Sarvis.

I’m sure that many of my Republican friends will be left scratching their heads at this news, confused, angered, or perhaps a little of both, so let me take a few moments to explain more fully how I came to this decision.

It all started about two months ago when I wrote an article expressing my deep disappointment in Ken Cuccinelli’s outright refusal to include Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis in the gubernatorial debates.  To me, political dialogue is one of the great hallmarks of our system of elections and while I support any effort to promote discourse, I equally oppose any attempt to stifle it.  I have seen too many candidates of a variety of political persuasions denied the chance to express their viewpoints, chances that they ought to have had.  For example, Libertarian Gary Johnson, Constitutionalist Virgil Goode, and Green Jill Stein were all excluded from the presidential debates in 2012, despite the fact that they were listed on the ballot in a majority of states.  Previously, Gary Johnson was also barred from a majority of the Republican debates, which, no doubt, played heavily in his decision to switch from the Republican to the Libertarian Party banner.  Earlier that year, my representative, Bob Goodlatte refused to debate his primary challenger, Karen Kwiatkowski.  Previously, in 2010, Bob Goodlatte snubbed the JMU debate group by not attending a debate with his two third party opponents, and, perhaps most importantly, back in 2007 & 2008, Ron Paul was repeatedly excluded from attending the GOP presidential debates by the mainstream media.  The simple fact is that if candidates do not have a level playing field, either as a result of media bias, party bias, or candidate bias, then a whole subset of views can easily be erased from political landscape, either inadvertently or maliciously.

As a result of this concern, I contacted the group Free & Equal in the hopes that they would be able to remedy this problem.  If you recall, Free & Equal hosted a third party debate between the various 2012 presidential contenders, an event that I applauded as it expanded political discussion.  Although it would be easy for me to simply sit on my blog and grouse on the injustice of excluding Robert Sarvis, I realized that I could do more, much more than simply write about this issue.  I have been directly involved in political campaigning for more than half of my life, since the age of 15, and have a wealth of experience and knowledge that I could use to help set this wrong right.  I have been trained by both the RNC and the Leadership Institute and have served multiple campaigns over the years.  Not only could I act, I felt that I had to act.  After all, if I had the ability to make a change and did not, I would be just as responsible as those squelching political dialogue.  But what should I do?

While I thought more about this matter for a few days, I reflected upon the tactics of the Cuccinelli campaign and was, quite frankly, appalled.  My inbox overflowed with press releases and they were all the same, lambasting Terry McAuliffe over some issue (both legitimate and trivial stuff) without offering any positive message about Ken Cuccinelli.  As I wrote on August 7th, “it is as if they are blindly throwing darts as fast as they can, hoping that at least one will hit the board.”  I contacted the Cuccinelli campaign several times with my complaints but was completely ignored.  I had reached a breaking point.  The excessive negativity of the Cuccinelli campaign coupled with their hypocritical complaints that Terry McAuliffe refused to debate while simultaneously working to exclude Robert Sarvis was completely unacceptable.

Therefore, I contacted Robert Sarvis to see if and how I might be able to serve his campaign.  Although the vast majority of my campaign experience has revolved around grassroots organizing, I was told that the campaign’s greatest need was in fundraising.  Fundraising is certainly not my forte and only something in which I dabbled in previous campaigns, but, as it is what they needed, that task is what I agreed to do.  As the campaign progresses, I hope I will have the opportunity to serve in other ways as well.

When the leader of the Lynchburg Libertarians heard that I had joined the Sarvis campaign, she was quite curious why I, a conservative within the Republican Party, would do so.  Although I’ve explained my two major reasons for this decision, there are a handful of others, which I’ll briefly touch in no particular order of importance:

First, I constantly feel a strong desire to promote the ideals of liberty and my political principles. Ideally, I express these principles through my employment, and working for the Sarvis campaign allows me to do so once more.

Second, I am a person who appreciates being valued.  I regret to say that although I’ve devoted considerable time and energy to my party and its candidates over the last eighteen years, those currently leading the various campaigns and the party have done a pretty darn good job of ignoring me for quite some time now, in much the same way as Robert Sarvis has been ignored (though that seems to be changing!).  Although I’ve only been with the Sarvis campaign briefly, I will admit it is nice to be reminded that my efforts are respected, not simply taken for granted.

Third, I am still on the lookout for a fellow liberty-minded woman with whom I can share the great adventures of life.  It is possible that through this effort I will find this person.

Fourth, as I’ve gotten to know Robert Sarvis through our discussions online and in person, I must say that I am quite impressed by his knowledge, experience, passion, and dedication to the principles of a limited state and federal government. He offers a vision that is quite appealing to libertarians and conservatives.  He is a voice that must be heard.

As I said at the beginning, politically and personally, I still like Ken Cuccinelli quite a bit.  After all, he was the only statewide candidate I endorsed in 2009 and should he win this year, I believe that he will serve Virginia well.  However, we are setting the stage for something that will transcend the outcome in November and that thought worries me greatly.  The Cuccinelli and McAuliffe campaigns are charting a course that will likely damage political dialogue in this state for years to come.  I have been seeking to build bridges and find common ground between like-minded folks, be they Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, or a multitude of other political affiliations, while they both seem to promote an “us against them”, scorched earth mentality.  Over the last several weeks, I have spoken to several fellow conservatives and libertarians who have silently pealed away from the Cuccinelli campaign for many of the same reasons and, assuming the campaign continues to degenerate, I expect more to follow in the days to come.  We must resist living in a political world dominated by hatred and fear.  It is time for a new direction and I feel honored by the opportunity to assist the Sarvis campaign in their effort.

So, do you agree with me that political dialogue needs to be expanded?  Are you sick of the extreme negativity?  Do you believe that citizens throughout this great Commonwealth need to know about of all of their choices, that they should have the opportunity to discover Robert Sarvis?  And, if your answer to any of these questions is yes, will you to head on over to the campaign website and donate $100, $50, $20, or whatever you feel is appropriate?  After all, as I’ve mentioned, funding is still the campaign’s greatest need.  After doing so, please send me an email or leave a comment below so that the campaign will know that I’m out there doing what I can to fundraise on their behalf.

Let us continue to advance liberty in all things!

13 Replies to “Joining Team Sarvis”

  1. Honestly, I find myself in a very similar position. I’m a member of the Republican Party but am philosophically libertarian. I’ve concluded that third parties, unfortunately, aren’t politically viable. Cuccinelli has already received my endorsement for Governor, but like you, am disappointed by his disregard for the political process and his relentless negativity. I’ll reconsider my choice after your well written piece, thank you.

  2. This is what is known as a grievous political error. This will be held up as an example of why liberty Republicans can’t be trusted to work together with other Republicans. I disagree with Ken on a few social issues, but the bottom line is that he’s the most pro-liberty gubernatorial candidate we’ve had in at least a generation, and now we have THIS going on.

    1. Rob, you say “and now we have THIS going on”. What would that be the liberty we have to decide for ourselves who to vote for? The liberty to not accept a candidate that is right for the Commonwealth or Country and instead take whatever person is pushed down our throats? What is going on is an awakening and it is a good thing. The Republican Party left me, I did not leave it.

  3. Having worked behind the scenes on a number of campaigns as staff, including Ken’s AG race, I will tell you that Ken is the real deal. There are no perfect candidates. But Ken is the only pro-liberty gubernatorial candidate who has a chance to win. Raising up another candidate at the ninth hour will only split the vote so that we end up with higher taxes etc. Where’s the liberty in that?

    1. Yeah, we should just “settle” for Cuccinelli because you once worked for his campaign and believe he is the real deal. There is not one ounce of LIBERTY in a man who would outright refuse to debate someone and then turn around and cry like a baby because McAuliffe won’t debate him. Our taxes are already going up because of the transportation bill that our current governor signed into law. A bill that Cooch says is “perfectly OK.” So, no, I think I’ll stick with Sarvis.

    2. Actually, you are mistaken about Ken being the only pro-liberty gubernatorial candidate who has a chance to win. With or without Robert Sarvis, Ken does not have a chance to win. It is this kind of thinking that has gotten our Country in the mess it is in now.

  4. First of all, Ken Cuccinelli does NOT OWN MY VOTE. My vote belongs to me and any suggestion that I will find myself compelled to vote for Cuccinelli if I were not allowed to vote for Sarvis (or write in myself) is idiotic.

    Second, ’tilting at windmills’ would be supporting the major parties expecting them to respect individual rights.

    Political parties are what their constituents make of them. And too much of the RP’s constituency wants social control over people. Republicans might be OK on gun rights and eminent domain, but most of them would happily have the state shoot-to-kill drug users and gays, and are gung-ho supportive of the military & surveillance state.

    Third, Sarvis wasn’t pulled out of some hat at the “ninth” hour. The Libertarian Party of Virginia held its convention on April 21. The Republican convention was May 17, fully a month after. Using your specious logic, it is Cuccinelli, not Sarvis, who should be thought of as being pulled out of a hat at the 9th hour.

    And that phrase is actually “at the eleventh hour”, not ninth.

    Fourth, Cuccinelli is not a ‘liberty candidate’. He falls off the wagon far too much. With even a cursory look, one can find several issues where Cuccinellis’s votes were anti-liberty.

    He voted to increase state control on these issues:

    March 6, 2008 HB 12 Payday Lending Restrictions

    Feb. 12, 2008 SB 476 Prohibiting Drinking with a Concealed Weapon

    April 4, 2007 Sub HB 2750 Capital Murder of a Judge

    Jan. 26, 2007 SB 1014 Payday Lending Restrictions

    Jan. 23, 2007 Sub SB 1116 Capital Murder of a Judge or Witness (if one believes in liberty, one does not advocate making certain special classes “more protected” than others)

    May 23, 2006 HB 5002 2006-2008 Biennium Budget

    Jan. 25, 2006 SB 526 Defining Marriage

    Cucinelli voted *against* expanding individual liberty on these issues:

    Feb. 20, 2007 Sub HB 1778 Traffic Light Cameras

    Jan. 29, 2007 SB 920 Requirements For Absentee Voting

    Jan. 25, 2007 SJ 307 Voting Rights of Nonviolent Felons


    And that’s just what I found with a Google search and reading a few of the listed bills.

    Drink the Kool-Ade all you want, but Cuccinelli has a lot of issues where he is no friend of individual rights.

    What part of the liberty movement actually supports that kind of collectivist leftovers? If the liberty movement supports the things most republicans do then it’s not much of a liberty movement at all.

    1. @Marc Couldn’t agree more! If it weren’t for Robert Sarvis, I’d probably be staying home on Election Day. He’s the reason that I and many other people give a fig about the governor’s race to begin with. Please Amanda, realize that KC is the problem here, not us! Wait, you still work for him don’t you?

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