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by
Bridget Johnson

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November 7, 2013 - 1:58 pm

The Libertarian Party’s national director fought back this afternoon against allegations that Robert Sarvis was a Democratic plant intended to help Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

“I realize that, no matter what I say, paranoid right-wingers will think I’m a sneaky operative trying to help Democrats beat Republicans. This message is for the rational people out there,” Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Wes Benedict said in a statement.

The statement included links to stories in right-of-center outlets that pointed to a bundler for President Obama helping pay for the petition circulators that got Sarvis enough signatures to get on the Virginia ballot.

The expenditure was financed by the Libertarian Booster PAC, founded by Benedict in 2011.

“In 2012, the PAC focused solely on non-federal races in Texas. With satisfactory accomplishments, and no partisan election happening in Texas in 2013, I looked to expand to other states where permitted by law. Virginia was one of two states with a gubernatorial election in 2013 plus state legislative elections, so it was an obvious choice,” he continued.

“Back at the end of 2008, a man contacted me expressing interest in the Libertarian Party. It turned out he was a successful high-tech entrepreneur. One of his comments was along the lines of, ‘What could the Libertarian Party do if it had a million dollars?’ Naturally, I contact this man whenever I think I have a good idea that needs funding.”

He seemed to be alluding to Austin-based software billionaire and Obama bundler Joe Liemandt.

“I’ve raised $300,000 from this donor for the Libertarian Booster PAC. He has provided very little in the way of instruction or advice regarding use of the money. The one strong suggestion he made was that we should try to build the Libertarian Party by recruiting Hispanics. He thought Democrats were taking Hispanics for granted, and Republicans were often hostile, and perhaps a massive wave of Hispanics could be convinced to join the Libertarian Party since we have a pro-immigration platform,” Benedict continued, adding that the suggestion influenced the inclusion of a “Liberty for Latinos” plank in Texas.

“Most political experts would probably say that recruiting Hispanics into the Libertarian Party would hurt Democrats rather than Republicans, since Hispanics lean more Democratic than Republican. So I’m skeptical that this donor is trying to use me to hurt Republicans,” the director said. “It was my idea, and my decision, to have the Libertarian Booster PAC help recruit Libertarian Party candidates in 2013 in Virginia.”

Benedict called Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that an Obama bundler “bought and paid for” a “fake Libertarian candidate” an “outright lie,” and called on Limbaugh to “retract his claim.”

“My strategies and tactics have never been secret. They are common strategies in the Libertarian Party, and they are the same strategies promoted at the founding of the Libertarian Party. I try to publicize them any way I can. I’ve even written a book about them and included a chapter about PACs,” said Benedict. “I want Libertarians to win elections. But I also want them to run for office even when they’re unlikely to win. Why? To get the public to discuss and consider libertarian principles. Our liberties will not be secure until Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians are all fighting over the best ways to implement libertarian principles.”

“If I wanted to hurt the Republican in Virginia, I would have supported a right-wing candidate who sounded like a Tea Partier — who only talked about cutting welfare, Obamacare, and how bad Democrats are. I would never have helped someone like Robert Sarvis, who talked a lot about social issues that appeal to liberal voters. As it turned out, polls show that if Sarvis weren’t in the race, McAuliffe would probably have won by a slightly bigger margin.”

The party earlier touted their third-best showing in any governor’s race. McAuliffe had 47.7 percent of the vote to Ken Cuccinelli at 45.2 percent. Sarvis, a software developer and attorney, pulled in 6.52 percent.

“My hope with the Robert Sarvis campaign was for the election to be close between the Democrat and Republican, with the Libertarian getting more votes than in previous elections, and lots of press to follow. Imagine my excitement when the results came in with Sarvis getting 6.5 percent (eight times the previous record in Virginia for a Libertarian for governor), and a narrow spread between the Republican and Democrat,” Benedict added. “With Robert Sarvis’s outstanding campaign for governor, mission accomplished.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
This. They wanted the money, though. It always comes down to the money.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OK. I'll bite. Sarvis was not a Democratic "plant," but he did receive significant Democratic funding. Gee, I guess it was OK to sabotage the Republican candidate then?

I find both conservatism and libertarianism attractive, but what I do not care for is doctrinaire obstinacy by either faction. The enemy, you morons, is the Democrats and the Left. Think strategically, you fools.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't buy it. When you've got Ron Paul and his son of all people telling you NOT to vote for this guy something is amiss.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (24)
All Comments   (24)
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So now they will have less liberty.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If anyone has an interest in the Libertarian Party, I suggest that you do what I did several years ago and attend a state Libertarian Party convention. It was an eye-opening event. A small minority appeared to be rational but the remainder were what Theodore Roosevelt referred to as "the Lunatic Fringe".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Frankly I don't have an interest in being involved with any of the major parties. All of them are willing to stick a politician into office until they become entrenched. All of them are more concerned with their party views than the best interest of the people. All of them will take money from any legal source possible without conscience.

The only thing the Libertarians have going in their favor is they are the last party actually standing for reducing the size and influence of government at all levels. This has a chance of benefiting all of the people if they can get the governments at all levels to live within their means without confiscatory levels of taxation. I know that this too is a pipe dream, but if I have to shake hands with a few "fringe" people to get less corrupt government, then I'm willing to do it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You can say anything your little old heart desires, we know WHAT you are and you will meet your judgment at the pearly gates, and NOT pass through!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Given that the "effect" was "as if" the Libertarian Party Candidate Was a Dem Plant makes the Party Leader politically obtuse at best and if the contention is that the "spoiler votes" were evenly split between Repubs and Dems makes a mockery of the Parties purpose in the 1st instant.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If the Republican had made a better case for his plans for reducing the amount of control the State of Viriginia would have over it's citizens, then I am pretty sure he could have won regardless of how much "astro-turf" money was provided to the Libertarian candidate. The 6.6% of the vote that went Libertarian was a no confidence vote in both the Democrat and the Republican.

If the Republican's want the fiscal conservative vote anymore, then they have to stop backing and building big statist government in cooperation with the Democrats.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Also when 2/3 of the registered voters sit home instead of turning out for your candidate you are not on message with your base. That is 2/3 of the Democrats who sat home, and 2/3 of the potential Republicans who sat home. It was an election of losers, and the biggest loser lost.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When you lose 60% of your own base as unwilling to turn out for the party choice of candidate, then the party only has themselves to blame.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OK, if Sarvis wasn't planted by the Democrats, could he please explain how those millions of dollars from an Obama bundler ended up in his campaign fund? When he does that, perhaps I'll believe his statements. Until then...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"'I realize that, no matter what I say, paranoid right-wingers will think I’m a sneaky operative trying to help Democrats beat Republicans. This message is for the rational people out there,' Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Wes Benedict said in a statement."

Right after that statement, I started believing he was lying. Hostility, contempt, derision. He sounds just like a lefty that is trying to hide something.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The next time some big "L" Libertarian wants to help American politics become less factious, why don't you support petition drives to get minor party left wing candidates on the ballot? Socialist Workers Party, Green Party, Naderites, Occupy, People's Front of Judea...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All you need do is follow the money.

To which party did the Sarvis creature contribute money? To which party did the supreme leader of the Virginia Libertarians contribute?

It all sounds like Democrat funded astroturf to me. Expect a lot more of this next year.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sarvis is no libertarian. He's FOR the black boxes the Feds want to put in cars to track mileage. The potential for Federal abuse with this apparatus is EPIC. No real libertarian would support such a thing.
Sarvis is a statist.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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