The Libertarian candidate in Florida’s gubernatorial election is not satisfied to be just an ideologue or even a spoiler in the November election.
Adrian Wyllie, who served in the U.S. Army’s 56th Air Defense Artillery and the 53rd Infantry Brigade, wants to win, he expects to win, and he has a plan set for his first day in office.
“Day One, the first thing I do, even before I sit down at my desk, will be to instruct the IT department to install a webcam system which will stream all meetings I have live on the Internet,” he said. “We are going to introduce real transparency and go after the corruption that is rampant in Tallahassee.”
But first he has to win. Wyllie is running a distant, distant third in the three-candidate race. He has been so far behind that the polls have only just now begun to include him.
The most recent polls show Wyllie has 4-9 percent of the vote with less than 60 days to go before the election.
Analysts say that Wyllie could pull votes away from both candidates, Gov. Rick Scott (R) and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D). But they don’t think he stands a chance of winning.
In the 10th tracking poll for WFLA-TV in Tampa, SurveyUSA added Wyllie’s name to the “who would you vote for” question. He picked up 4 percent of the voters’ support compared to Scott at 44 percent and Crist at 41 percent.
Truth be told, Wyllie did as well as “some other candidate” did in the other nine tracking polls.
Wyllie polled better in an August Quinnipiac University survey. But he still only got 9 percent voter support. The survey also showed that Crist’s 2 percent point lead — 39-37 percent over Scott — would increase to 5 points without Wyllie on the ballot.
Pretty dismal, right?
Wyllie told PJ Media his team doesn’t read the numbers that way.
“The numbers show that the majority of people we are reaching have decided to vote for me. I think that trend means all we have to do is make sure our message is heard,” he said. “When they see that there is a viable third alternative, it makes a big difference to them.”
Even with that interpretation of the numbers, there is also the question of money.
Crist and Scott have a lot. Wyllie does not.
The Naples Daily News reported Aug. 24 that the Democrat and Republican had pulled in $15 million between them in out-of-state advertising money.
“We will only have a tiny fraction of the war chests that my competitors will have,” Wyllie admitted. “However, we will have something that they wished they had — an army of grass-roots volunteers.”
This will be a retail political campaign, Wyllie hopes, at its best. There will be a lot of kitchen table meetings, neighbors inviting neighbors to their homes to learn more about this Libertarian who would be governor, and of course, convoys of voters driving to the polls by carloads on Election Day.
At least that is the plan.
“We have 1,500 people working statewide as precinct captains that are tasked with getting out the vote in their neighborhoods,” said Wyllie, who owns and operates a small business — an IT company — as his day job.
Wyllie and his lt. governor nominee, insurance agent Greg Roe, visited 30 cities in Florida in August recruiting volunteers for the campaign and wooing voters.
Support is coming from the left and right wings of the political spectrum, according to Wyllie.
“Our ideal voter is anyone who is just completely disgusted and disenfranchised with the status quo,” he explained. “There are few candidates who get an equally warm reception at a Tea Party event and a Gay Pride event. But that is the kind of thing that we are seeing.”
And his Libertarian message, he said, has found favor with all age groups.
“There does seem to be a much more Libertarian streak in younger voters,” he said.
It could also be that Floridians are being attracted to Wyllie’s “political outlaw” reputation. That is what the Miami Herald called him, and Wyllie doesn’t mind the label.
“A lot of people are at the breaking point with a lot of our laws and they are willing to stand up and engage in civil disobedience,” Wyllie said. “And that is the sort of thing that I do. If I find a law that is unjust and unconstitutional, I will willfully disobey it.”
Like the law that says everyone in Florida, before they get behind the wheel of a car, a truck or on a motorcycle, has to have a driver’s license.
Wyllie doesn’t have a driver’s license, not because the idea of being registered to drive bothers him, but because he is protesting Florida’s Real ID Act.
Wyllie said that law “essentially turned our driver’s licenses into a national ID card with bio-metric tracking. To me that is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.”
He is challenging the law in court, but it has not been easy. Wyllie surrendered his driver’s license in 2011, then tried to turn himself in to several police agencies in an effort to be arrested. Nobody would take him.
Finally, Wyllie went after a county sheriff on his syndicated radio show and was arrested at a charity event.
Wyllie’s case is now pending before a judge.
He has also urged all of the county sheriffs in Florida to arrest any TSA agent who violates airline passengers’ civil rights with an enhanced pat-down search.
‘The Department of Homeland Security has been overreaching and has been treating our constitutional rights as being malleable where they are not,” said Wyllie. “We can’t allow our rights to be usurped or overridden for some nebulous concept of public safety.”
Again, just as with his driver’s license protest, it has been close to impossible to get a sheriff to take him up on that challenge.
Wyllie believes the Libertarian Party is only getting stronger because of his campaign and will be more of a force for the Democrats and Republicans to reckon with in election cycles to come.
“The Libertarian Party is the third-fastest growing party in America and here in Florida our membership is up somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 to 2,000 percent,” claimed Wyllie.
“If we win this election, Florida will become a three-party state.”