News Release: November 7, 2013
With Libertarian Sarvis — mission accomplished
In the wake of Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s defeat in the race for Virginia Governor, speculation is running rampant in right-wing media that Libertarian Robert Sarvis was a Democratic plant designed to help Terry McAuliffe.
Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Wes Benedict issued the following statement:
I realize that, no matter what I say, paranoid right-wingers will think I’m a sneaky operative trying to help Democrats beat Republicans. This message is for the rational people out there.
I founded the Texas-based Libertarian Booster PAC in late 2011. Its purpose was to recruit and assist Libertarian Party candidates for public office. You can read more about it here.
In 2012, the PAC focused solely on non-federal races in Texas. With satisfactory accomplishments, and no partisan election happening in Texas in 2013, I looked to expand to other states where permitted by law. Virginia was one of two states with a gubernatorial election in 2013 plus state legislative elections, so it was an obvious choice.
Back at the end of 2008, a man contacted me expressing interest in the Libertarian Party. It turned out he was a successful high-tech entrepreneur. One of his comments was along the lines of, “What could the Libertarian Party do if it had a million dollars?” Naturally, I contact this man whenever I think I have a good idea that needs funding.
I’ve raised $300,000 from this donor for the Libertarian Booster PAC. He has provided very little in the way of instruction or advice regarding use of the money. The one strong suggestion he made was that we should try to build the Libertarian Party by recruiting Hispanics. He thought Democrats were taking Hispanics for granted, and Republicans were often hostile, and perhaps a massive wave of Hispanics could be convinced to join the Libertarian Party since we have a pro-immigration platform.
His suggestion, which I liked, did influence my decision to include a “Liberty for Latinos” issues plank in Texas.
Most political experts would probably say that recruiting Hispanics into the Libertarian Party would hurt Democrats rather than Republicans, since Hispanics lean more Democratic than Republican. So I’m skeptical that this donor is trying to use me to hurt Republicans.
It was my idea, and my decision, to have the Libertarian Booster PAC help recruit Libertarian Party candidates in 2013 in Virginia. I even advertised about it in February.
According to The Blaze, “[Rush] Limbaugh said the Democrats enlisted a ‘fake Libertarian candidate’ who was ‘bought and paid for by an Obama bundler.'” That’s an outright lie, and Limbaugh should retract his claim.
My strategies and tactics have never been secret. They are common strategies in the Libertarian Party, and they are the same strategies promoted at the founding of the Libertarian Party. I try to publicize them any way I can. I’ve even written a book about them and included a chapter about PACs.
I want Libertarians to win elections. But I also want them to run for office even when they’re unlikely to win. Why? To get the public to discuss and consider libertarian principles.
Our liberties will not be secure until Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians are all fighting over the best ways to implement libertarian principles.
If I wanted to hurt the Republican in Virginia, I would have supported a right-wing candidate who sounded like a Tea Partier — who only talked about cutting welfare, Obamacare, and how bad Democrats are. I would never have helped someone like Robert Sarvis, who talked a lot about social issues that appeal to liberal voters. As it turned out, polls show that if Sarvis weren’t in the race, McAuliffe would probably have won by a slightly bigger margin.
My hope with the Robert Sarvis campaign was for the election to be close between the Democrat and Republican, with the Libertarian getting more votes than in previous elections, and lots of press to follow. Imagine my excitement when the results came in with Sarvis getting 6.5 percent (eight times the previous record in Virginia for a Libertarian for governor), and a narrow spread between the Republican and Democrat.
With Robert Sarvis’s outstanding campaign for governor, mission accomplished.