For the first time in its history, Bearing Drift has learned, the Libertarian Party of Virginia has recruited a full slate of candidates for the U.S. Congress. Each of the state’s eleven congressional districts now have LP candidates, as well as the at-large U.S. Senate seat.
The historic recruitment effort was spearheaded by Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Robert Sarvis, who last year won more than six percent of the vote in a three-way race for Virginia governor against Ken Cuccinelli and Terry mcAuliffe.
Virginia Democrats so far have no candidate in the Seventh Congressional District to oppose House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and there is a possibility that no candidate will be chosen by Fifth District Democrats to oppose Representative Robert Hurt (R-Chatham).
The LP candidates for the House of Representatives still must collect a minimum of 1,000 signatures of registered voters in order to qualify for the November ballot. Sarvis must gather at least 10,000 signatures statewide for his Senate race. The filing deadline for all offices is Tuesday, June 10, the same day that primary elections are held. None of the twelve candidates has yet completed the ballot qualification process.
The eleven candidates are Xavian Draper, who is challenging First District Representative Rob Wittman (R); Allen Knapp, who will face Second District Representative Scott Rigell (R); Justin Upshaw, running for the Third District seat currently held by Representative Bobby Scott (D); Bo Brown, challenging Fourth District Representative Randy Forbes (R); Paul Jones, the latest to join the slate, running against Congressman Robert Hurt (R); Will Hammer, challenging House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte in the Sixth District; James Carr, running against Seventh District Representative Eric Cantor; Jeffrey Carson, running for the open Eighth District seat vacated by retiring Democrat Jim Moran; Matthew Edwards, challenging Ninth District Republican Morgan Griffith; Bill Redpath, running for the open seat in the Tenth District against Republican Barbara Comstock and Democrat John Foust to succeed the retiring Frank Wolf; and Marc Harrold, who is challenging Democrat Gerry Connolly in the Eleventh Congressional District.
Jones and Edwards must still be formally nominated by their respective LP congressional district committees.
Of the twelve candidates, only Redpath and Sarvis have previously sought public office. In addition to running for governor last year, Sarvis ran (as a Republican) for the state senate in 2011. Redpath, who has served as state and national Libertarian Party chairman, ran for Virginia governor in 2001 and for the U.S. Senate in 2008. The other ten are first-time candidates.
If Sarvis improves on his vote totals from last year and wins ten percent of the statewide vote in his race against incumbent Senator Mark Warner and the still-to-be-chosen Republican nominee, the LP will become a qualified political party in Virginia and future candidates will not face the ballot-access hurdles that now burden them. LP candidates for any office will be eligible to be nominated by the same methods that Republicans and Democrats now are permitted to use, such as primary elections, firehouse primaries (unassembled caucuses), mass meetings, and conventions.