Robert Sarvis set to make an impact on governor's race - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Robert Sarvis set to make an impact on governor's race

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ROANOKE -

His name recognition is low and his political background very limited, but Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis is well positioned to have a say in the race to become Virginia's next governor.

"40 percent of Virginia voters from the very beginning of this race said they wanted a 3rd candidate," Sarvis said. "I jumped in the race and am offering a mainstream, moderate campaign that's focused on the issues and is very positive."

Sarvis joined the race last spring after seeing an opportunity.

"You can only be pushed so far as a voter before you start looking for other options and I'm the moderate in the race," he said.

That push Sarvis refers to is the barrage of negative campaign ads between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

"They're spending all of their money attacking each other. There's a lot of negativity," Sarvis said. "There's very little substance in either of their campaigns. People are turned off."

A late start to the campaign forced Sarvis to play catch up with his opponents.

Goal #1: Introduce himself to the large number of voters who know very little about him.

"It's difficult but we've been managing it," he said. "It used to be much higher, the percentage of the people who haven't heard of the campaign."

Politically, Sarvis is working to stay in the middle as much as possible.

He wants to add jobs, help entrepreneurs, and reduce restrictions on businesses, pushing his "Open Minded, Open for Business" slogan.

Sarvis does have some similarities to his opponents like wanting to focus on Medicaid reform instead of expansion and looking to eliminate the Business Professional Occupational Licensing tax, better known as BPOL.

They're views Sarvis was hoping to share with a wider audience during Thursday gubernatorial debate at Virginia Tech. However, he was informed earlier this month that he would not be included.

He will be holding a rally near the debate site to protest his exclusion.

Despite campaigning as the alternative candidate, Sarvis' victory chances seem slim.

October polls show him with anywhere from 8-12 percent support among likely voters.

We asked Sarvis if this is a race he expects to win.

"I don't have expectations," he said. "I certainly think we're going in the right direction. We're increasing our polling numbers."

Numbers that likely won't equal victory, but could help decide Virginia's next governor.

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