The final debate of the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial race is scheduled for Oct. 24 on the campus of Virginia Tech. Currently, the only two candidates there will be Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Teapublican Ken Cuccinelli, but NOT Libertarian Robert Sarvis. The reason I’m writing about this now is that Sarvis’ wife Astrid has recorded and released a video imploring debate organizers – in emotional terms – to let her husband in. So, the question is, should Sarvis be in the debate? Here are four (unemotional) reasons why he should NOT be in the debate and three (also unemotional) reasons why he should be, IMHO.
4 Reasons Sarvis Should NOT Be in the Debate
1. At 9.8% in the Real Clear Politics average (it was apparently at 9.1% when debate organizers made their decision not to include him), Sarvis is not at the 10% threshold set for inclusion. Fair or not, them there’s the rules, set a long time ago by CBS affiliate WDBJ7. What’s the saying, close only counts in horseshoes?
2. With little-to-no money to communicate with voters, Sarvis has absolutely no chance of being elected Virginia’s next governor. In addition, there’s no sign that he helps or hurts either of the other two candidates disproportionately. In that respect, it’s kind of irrelevant, frankly, if he’s in the debate or not.
3. According to the Daily Press, Sarvis “did not return our call inviting him to meet with the Daily Press Editorial Board,” meaning he wasn’t considered for their endorsement. I’m sorry, but that’s just not something a serious candidate for governor of Virginia would do.
4. Also not serious was Sarvis’ refusal to answer our questions, after he requested that we email them to him and that he would answer. So, where are the answers? Got me, but the last I heard from him was on October 6 (almost two weeks ago), when he emailed to say he’d get to the questions when he had “some time at the computer to address the questions properly.” Guess he’s been busy, or maybe the computer broke?!? LOL. Again, though, this is just not serious, certainly not at the gubernatorial level.
3 Reasons Sarvis SHOULD Be in the Debate
1. It would make the debate more entertaining. Frankly, at this point, we already know exactly what McAuliffe and Cuccinelli are going to say, where they stand on every issue under the sun, that they don’t like each other one bit, etc. Bo-ring! Adding Sarvis might actually give people a reason to tune in, so why not? These debates are mostly non-value-added (aka, “a waste of time”) anyway.
2. Sarvis is not exactly at 10% in the polls, but at 9.8%, he’s about as close as you can get without hitting the mark. Given that, why not add his libertarian viewpoint – with which I mostly agree on social issues, STRONGLY disagree with on everything else (economics, budget, environment, education, health care, you name it) – into the mix? It might help clarify where the other two candidates are coming from, if nothing else.
3. I know my friend and colleague Paul Goldman thinks Sarvis’ candidacy has been a total “joke,” but I’m not sure how it’s been any more of a “joke” than the Ken Cuccinelli debacle. I mean, if we’re talking “serious candidates,” then we might as well eliminate Cooch from the debate as well, given the utter fiasco (for a LOT more money than Sarvis has spent!) his campaign for governor has been.
So that’s all I’ve got – arguments for and against why Sarvis should be in the last Virginia gubernatorial debate. Not that it matters, as I doubt the debate organizers care what a blogger, the candidate himself, or the candidate’s wife have to say on this subject.