Katie Pavlich

It's one of the oldest tricks in the book: backing a third candidate in order to beat the main competition. This time, this tactic is being used in the Virginia gubernatorial race by Democrats who are heavily backing "Libertarian" candidate Robert Sarvis in an effort to pull votes away from Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Meredith Jessup at The Blaze has all of the dirty details.

A major Democratic Party benefactor and Obama campaign bundler helped pay for professional petition circulators responsible for getting Virginia Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert C. Sarvis on the ballot — a move that could split conservative votes in a tight race.

Campaign finance records show the Libertarian Booster PAC has made the largest independent contribution to Sarvis’ campaign, helping to pay for professional petition circulators who collected signatures necessary to get Sarvis’ name on Tuesday’s statewide ballot.

Austin, Texas, software billionaire Joe Liemandt is the Libertarian Booster PAC’s major benefactor. He’s also a top bundler for President Barack Obama. This revelation comes as Virginia voters head to the polls Tuesday in an election where some observers say the third-party gubernatorial candidate could be a spoiler for Republican Ken Cuccinelli.


Naturally, Sarvis' campaign won't explain the backing and refused to discuss whether he was recruited by Democrats to upset the race in Democrat Terry McAuliffe's favor.

Last week, NRO's Charles C.W. Cooke destroyed Sarvis' "Liberatarian" credentials, pointing out his big government positions on climate change, taxes and supporting GPS tracking devices in Virginia cars.

In a recent Reason interview, Sarvis explained that he was “not into the whole Austrian type, strongly libertarian economics,” preferring “more mainstream economics” instead. The candidate expanded on this during an oddly defensive interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, in which he seemed put off not so much by “strongly libertarian economics” as by libertarian economics per se. As governor, Sarvis told Todd, he would be hesitant to cut taxes, unsure as to how he might “reduce spending,” and open to indulging the largest piece of federal social policy since 1965 by expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program.

Worse yet was Sarvis’s rambling interview with the Virginia Prosperity Project, in which the candidate expressed his enthusiasm for increasing gas levies, and for establishing a “vehicle-miles-driven tax.” It strikes me that it is almost impossible to square such a measure with any remotely coherent “libertarian” position on that most sacred of rights: privacy. Virginia’s mooted VMT plan requires the installation of government GPS systems in private cars — an astonishingly invasive proposal.

So, is the split the vote tactic working? We'll have to see what happens tonight as the polls close, but up to this point the answer is yes.

A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday showed Republican Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II trimming Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s lead in the Virginia governor’s race to 4 percentage points, suggesting the contest is much closer than some analysis has indicated.

The survey gave Mr. McAuliffe a lead of 45 percent to 41 percent, with 9 percent of likely voters opting for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. That advantage is down from 46 percent to 39 percent for Mr. McAuliffe in a Quinnipiac poll last week, when Mr. Sarvis had 10 percent.

Former presidential candidate and Congressman Ron Paul, notorious for his Libertarian views and dedication to principle, campaigned for Cuccinelli in Virginia last night. When Ron Paul is campaigning for the Republican in the race, you know the Libertarian is fake.



Katie Pavlich

Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her new book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, will be published on July 8, 2014.

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