Libertarian Robert Sarvis is getting some late financial help in his uphill fight for Virginia governor against better-funded foes Ken Cuccinelli II and Terry McAuliffe.
Purple PAC — a group devoted to backing candidates who are “‘red’ when it comes to economic policy, ‘blue’ when it comes to social policy” — launched a six-figure television ad buy Thursday designed to boost Sarvis’s campaign by painting him as a more appealing choice than Cuccinelli (R) or McAuliffe (D). The ad push begins the same day Cuccinelli and McAuliffe will square off in the final debate of the race, a session Sarvis will miss because he did not meet the polling threshold set by the other candidates and the debate’s sponsor.
“Virginia: We have a rational choice for governor,” the ad’s narrator says. “Why choose between a hard right socially intolerant conservative and an ethically challenged big government liberal? Robert Sarvis — entrepreneur, Libertarian. Social tolerance and lower taxes. Virginia’s future. Send a message. Nov. 5th, vote Sarvis for governor.”
Ed Crane, Purple PAC’s president, said the group would spend at least $300,000 on the campaign to boost Sarvis. Crane is also the founder of the Libertarian Cato Institute.
Polls have shown that Sarvis has benefited from voter dissatisfaction with the other two candidates, particularly Cuccinelli. His support has hovered around the 10 percent mark among likely voters in several surveys, though some polls have shown that his backers are less sure of their choice and may not know the Libertarian well.
Sarvis had raised less than $100,000 as of Sept. 30 and has only been able to air a handful of ads himself.
The late advertising boost could help the Libertarian Party in the future, even if Sarvis has little chance of winning Nov. 5. If Sarvis gets 10 percent or more of the vote in the governor’s race, then Libertarian candidates would gain ballot access for state and local offices — but not federal races — through 2021, according to the State Board of Elections.