On Sunday the Danville Register & Bee, a small market daily newspaper in Virginia owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway, surprised political observers when it endorsed Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis for governor in Tuesday’s election.
Noting that it was “the first time ever” the paper had “endorsed a Libertarian candidate for public office,” the Register & Bee’s editors explained that “[o]ur endorsement of Robert Sarvis for governor was in some ways a process of elimination that stemmed from a failure of the Republican and Democratic parties to nominate candidates that we could support — and the voters could have confidence in.”
It was a case, they said, where “the two parties have played a cynical game of ‘the lesser of two evils.’ “
The editors “lost confidence in the Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe, in August when he responded to a question about GreenTech Automotive locating in Danville this way: ‘I think they tried very hard to do it, and it didn’t work out.’ “
That answer, they wrote, “was a flippant, crass answer to a question about jobs for the Dan River Region. GreenTech Automotive, as a scandal, has a lot more layers than just jobs being dangled in front of Danville and then sent to Mississippi, and it could continue to haunt McAuliffe if he is elected governor.”
Cuccinelli, they added, “had his own problems.” including accepting “a smaller number of gifts . . . from the same donor in the gifting scandal that has sullied the reputation of Gov. Bob McDonnell.”
The editors of the Register & Bee acknowledged that their rejection the candidates of the two major parties was significant. “The fact that we’re asking that question this late in the campaign means that the two-party system has failed to produce a clear favorite for those voters who look not for the party label, but instead want candidates that will inspire, impress and lead them,” they wrote.
Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian nominee, “offers a real alternative this year, a break from the two-party paradigm that has not served us well,” they argued, while acknowledging that “[h]e has never held elected office. If he wins on Tuesday, he would have to navigate a swamp of partisan politics in Richmond.”
Recent polls show McAuliffe in the lead, though the margin ranges from 2 percent to 15 percent. Sarvis has the support of between 7 percent and 11 percent of likely voters, much of which is drawn from the Republican candidate, Ken Cuccinelli.
Image: Roanoke Times