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Libertarian Sarvis to air campaign ad during McAuliffe-Cuccinelli debate Wednesday night

Much to his chagrin, Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis wasn’t invited to be onstage Wednesday night during the Virginia governor’s race debate. But he’ll still get his message across.

Sarvis will air a campaign ad during the televised debate that makes the case why he’s a better choice for voters who don’t want to pull the lever for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) or businessman Terry McAuliffe (D). Cuccinelli and McAuliffe will square off at 7 p.m. in McLean at a debate sponsored by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce that will air on NBC4 and other NBC affiliates around Virginia, as well as

“I joined this race to give you a better choice,” Sarvis says in the ad, which shows him walking with his wife and children. “Like you, I can’t vote for Ken Cuccinelli’s narrow-minded social agenda. I want a Virginia that’s open-minded, and welcoming to all. And like you, I don’t want Terry McAuliffe’s cronyism, either, where government picks winners and losers.”

Third-party candidates rarely do well in Virginia, but Sarvis is hoping to buck that trend by capitalizing on dissatisfaction with the two major-party candidates this year. A new Washington Post/Abt-SRBI poll shows Sarvis pulling 10 percent of likely voters in the contest, while McAuliffe gets 47 percent and Cuccinelli 39 percent. The results suggest Sarvis is peeling more support from Cuccinelli than McAuliffe.

Sarvis ponied up for Wednesday night’s ad — which will air only on NBC4 — but it’s unclear how much more advertising he can afford. Through Aug. 31 he had raised $66,000 for his campaign and had $19,000 left in the bank, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

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