Even though Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis lost the governor’s race on Tuesday, he brought hope to third party candidates in the South. He came up with 6.5% of the votes and has performed better than any third-party candidate in the South in over forty years, according to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News.
He did well throughout the race and was able to get his name out there in a way that even landed him a newspaper endorsement by the Danville Register & Bee. Sarvis obviously didn’t have as much money as Terry McAuliffe (D) and Ken Cuccinelli (R) or enough percentage of votes to participate in all of their debates but he still managed to get out some television ads and keep his name in the race. At one point, Ken Cuccinelli was falling at a rapid pace behind McAuliffe and Sarvis was seen as the underdog that might be able to give him a run for his money, or candidacy.
Sarvis appealed to the younger crowd, who didn’t want to support either candidate, and according to the polls, he did well in Richmond and Shenendoah Valley. Sarvis was important to this election because he took votes away from the Democrats and Republicans, which made the race even closer. It’s tough to know where his votes would’ve gone if he didn’t run.
In that same article published in The Daily Beast, a Democratic operative described Sarvis’ voters as “mainly high information voters in the wealthier neighborhoods who felt Cuccinelli was too extreme and McAuliffe was kind of a typical politician” who ideologically were “conservative on business and economic issues but socially moderate to liberal.”
Sarvis may have lucked out this time because many voters didn’t support McAuliffe or Cuccinelli, so it was easier for him to rack up some votes. Regardless, he still surprised many people with the turnout that he did get. Who knows what the future holds for third party candidates, but this year he definitely worried his opponents.