(Page 3 of 4)
Reason: How do audiences react to you?
Sarvis: Mostly we are getting elation—people who come talk to me after or write are in elation that they have another choice. Early polls were showing 40 percent didn’t want to vote for either [major party candidate] and it’s an easy sell once people realize I’m in the race. People like that I talk to them like adults.
Reason: How are you doing with fundraising?
Sarvis: I think we done fairly well. We’ve got $75,000 raised and most of that has been husbanded wisely, I have money to put ads on the air now. Our first ad aired during a debate I was not included in, and got good feedback and [I’ll be able to] put that on statewide. If we can’t get huge donations it’s fine getting thousand and two thousand dollar donations. There is no maximum giving in Virginia, individuals and corporations can give, anyone can give, except foreign nationals who don’t have a green card.
Reason: I understand you get more in-state money than your major party opponents?
Sarvis: By a huge margin, their money is two-thirds to three-fourths out of state, my money is two-third in state and most of the out of state came with that $10,000 in ballot access [from Libertarian Boosters PAC] so exclude that ballot money and probably my in-state would be 80-90 percent.
A huge reason for why people are saying my name and not just saying “undecided” in polls, we literally went everywhere we could around the state and every time we had an event reached out to local media and whoever would bite we give as much time as they wanted, just show them that we appreciated they were covering us. People like Bart Hinkle at Richmond Times Dispatch, people at Roanoke Times were willing to say hey, this guy sounds credible, intelligent, people don’t like the other two, why not throw him on the news site and see what happens? Once one person does it everyone wants in on the action.
One Bearing Drift poll showed in the 4th and 5th districts, Richmond and Charlottesville, that confirms our strategy paid off because those are areas early on we spent a huge amount of time, and because we spent lots of time there we were getting more media. Our efforts are reaching voters because the places we spent the most time is where I have the most support. Those are very significant numbers in the 4th and 5th district, over 20 percent.
Reason: You got a master’s in economics recently from George Mason University, which is known for a libertarian/Austrian/free market program…but you have a non-economics background as well.
Sarvis: I went to Mason mostly because they are nearby and have a strong free market bent to it. I’m not into the whole Austrian type, strongly libertarian economics, I like more mainstream economics and would have been happy to go elsewhere [as well]. I went to law school 2002-5 and clerked in Mississippi for a federal judge for a year and then worked at Gibson Dunn Crutcher, a D.C. law firm, mostly in securities law and other large litigation and government contracts.
It was very slow paced, and my previous background in software development, in the tech community in San Francisco, was more fast paced. With law you can be on the same case for several years and you are a cog in a large team of lawyers and [I decided] I wasn’t contributing to society to my best ability. I wasn’t necessarily looking to leave law, but around the time when Android and iPhone platforms were coming out, [I realized that was] going to be an interesting and exciting field. So what started as a hobby with friends, together we started a company working with that, then we quit our jobs and did it full time. That was a good experience that lasted a few years ‘til everyone decided to move on to Google and Palantir and I started running for state Senate. I’m doing [politics] fulltime until November and then I’ll see what happens.
Reason: I’ve seen you make the point, regarding gay marriage, that your own marriage [to Astrid Sarvis, a black woman] had been illegal in many parts of the country all too recently.
Sarvis: I would have the same view before I started dating my wife, but it sort of gives me more credibility on the issue and more personal stake in the matter. It’s easy for Terry McAuliffe to say he supports it, but not really fight for it. To me it’s something I want to fight for out of a sense of duty. [Virginia passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 with votes from both houses of their legislature and a popular vote that bars both gay marriage and civil unions.]