Les Smith Reports: Robert Sarvis makes a run as the third-party choice

Posted at 5:59 PM, Oct 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-28 17:59:07-04

When candidates for governor talk about hitting the road, it isn't usually the way Rob Sarvis is doing it.

Sarvis has logged 18,000 miles in his minivan trying to convince Virginians that it’s time for a third-party choice in the campaign.

“We’ve been voting out of fear and the lesser of two evils kind of philosophy for a long time. Look at what it’s gotten us. It’s gotten us dysfunction. It’s gotten us ever-increasing government interference in our lives,” Sarvis says.

Sarvis is a libertarian. He believes in less government involvement not only in business, but in people’s lives.

“There’s a real sense that we need to get the government back into serving us rather than us serving the government,” he says.

Sarvis is 37-years-old. He has a math degree from Harvard. He’s a lawyer and ran a high-tech company making mobile phone apps. He is half-Chinese and married to an African-American doctor.

“Diversity isn’t something that I simply believe in. It’s something that I’ve lived,” he says.

What he is not, is well-funded or well-known.

Without the millions that Democrats and Republicans are spending on TV ads, Sarvis is getting his name out however he can.

Polls suggest it’s working. He’s benefiting from voters fed up with the negativity of the campaign.

“The two parties have become so polarized and their nominees are extreme versions of their parties,” he says.

Sarvis thinks the government should stay out of the abortion battle. He supports same-sex marriage, and he wants to legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs.

“It’s a lot of lives and livelihoods we’re destroying. It breaks up families. It increases the militarization of police and undermines civil liberties, so there’s a lot of follow on social ills that are caused by the war on drugs,” he says.

One recent poll showed Sarvis with support as high as 12 percent, which is a lot for a third-party candidate in Virginia.

If Sarvis gets 10 percent of the vote, then Libertarian candidates would qualify to be on the ballot in state elections for the next four years. That means they wouldn't have to spend months getting enough signatures on the ballot.

So even if he loses on November 5th, Sarvis could win big for the Libertarian party.