The last event on the last day before the election in Ken Cuccinelli’s not-necessarily-ill-fated gubernatorial run seems like an appropriate one: The attorney general will head to a get-out-the-vote rally in Richmond which will feature former congressman and libertarian folk hero Ron Paul. In a diversion from your typical off-year-gubernatorial-race narrative, the Virginia election drew attention not just for its compartively controversial Republican and Democratic candidates, but also for the surprisingly high poll numbers that Libertarian party candidate Robert Sarvis garnered. But Cuccinelli won Paul’s nomination, so the two are heading to the state’s capital tonight.
Opinions are divided on whether or not the former congressman’s endorsement will make much of a difference. Amanda Anderson, who took a break from phone-banking for Cuccinelli to speak with National Review Online, says she looks forward to attending the rally tonight. But she’s not sure how many libertarians will end up supporting the attorney general. “I think that remains to be seen,” she says. “I’m not really sure, I would definitely hope so. Ron is a Republican, and I think that his method of running as a Republican is the best way to advance liberty.”
And Matt Hurtt, the vice chairman of the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans, says the Virginia GOP has worked to reach out to young libertarians. “Libertarians in Virginia have been very fortunate to work within a political party, the Republican party, that has been very welcoming,” he says, “and that’s not been the case in many places.”
And he says the Sarvis supporters he’s spoken with as a Cuccinelli volunteer haven’t been particularly dedicated. “Actual informed libertarian support for Sarvis is pretty shallow and easy to flip,” he says.
We’ll find out tomorrow if enough of those Sarvis supporters are persuaded by Ron Paul’s pitch for Cuccinelli. They certainly won’t all come home, as it were — one Paul supporter who worked on the congressman’s 2012 presidential campaign says he is baffled as to why the doctor would get involved in the race, since both candidates are so unappealing.
“It’s confusing why a libertarian would campaign in this race at all,” he says.