Robert Sarvis stepped into the Ashby Ponds retirement community Monday afternoon carrying a large box stuffed with campaign paraphernalia – his own campaign paraphernalia.
It was just him; no political handlers, no spokesmen and certainly no driver – he chauffeured himself in a navy blue minivan donning a Sarvis for Governor decal.
This has been the life in recent months for the third-party candidate in the high-money, nationally-watched Virginia gubernatorial race featuring Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
By the end of Sarvis' speech to residents at the Loudoun County community, the Libertarian candidate had won over at least two voters who voiced their satisfaction.
“I think you're too highly-qualified for this whole job,” said one female Ashby Ponds resident.
After browsing Sarvis' resume, others may agree. While the Northern Virginia native has never won elected office, he holds degrees in mathematics from Harvard University and the University of Cambridge, a juris doctorate from New York University's School of Law and a master's in economics from George Mason University.
A key reason Sarvis decided to launch his long-shot bid, he said, is because he's tired of major candidates treating voters like they're stupid.
“I'm offering something very different from what the other two candidates are offering,” Sarvis told the Times-Mirror. “I'm offering a move away from cronyism and corporatism in government, back to the rule of law and the idea that we all live under the same laws.”
According to his campaign website, Sarvis “seeks to expand personal freedom by supporting marriage equality, restoring civil liberties and embracing immigrants with open arms.” Moreover, he hopes to “expand economic freedom by offering tax relief, freeing up workers and job creators from needless regulation.”
Sarvis is especially averse to government providing economic incentives, or any preferential treatment, to specific industries or businesses. These actions, he says, close off economic markets and restrict innovation.
On social issues, the Libertarian opposes government intrusion into women's health decisions, favors legalizing marijuana and moving away from the so-called “War on Drugs.”
“If I'm elected, it's a total repudiation of politics as usual … it changes a lot of the incentives and constraints of the legislators in the House and Senate,” Sarvis said.
While Sarvis may not pull off the monumental upset, there is another potential victory, albeit more minor. If he receives 10 percent or more of the statewide vote, the Libertarian Party will receive major party status in Virginia – meaning the party could nominate candidates in partisan elections for the next four years without having to submit petition signatures.
In recent weeks, Sarvis has polled right around that 10 percent mark.
As of Tuesday morning, the Libertarian had not been invited to partake in the third and final gubernatorial debate taking place Thursday in Blacksburg.