In an announcement that has been expected since before the November election, Florida Libertarian Party State Chairman Adrian Wyllie has confirmed that he is officially a candidate for Governor in 2014. The current Florida Governor, Republican Rick Scott, has seen his approval numbers crash after a series of controversial moves that resulted in Election Day chaos and polling place lines that kept some Florida voters waiting for hours just to cast a ballot.
Back in October, Libertarian State Chair Adrian Wyllie announced his intention to form an exploratory committee – the first step in the election process. Elected as Florida Libertarian Party Chairman in 2011, Wyllie brings and energy and optimism that is rarely seen in independent and opposition party politics. As detailed in an October Tampa Bay Libertarian Examiner column, the Gubernatorial candidate envisions a party that is growing so rapidly, it must partake in a round of primary elections just as the larger Democratic and Republican parties. “Nothing would be better for the cause of liberty than to have a statewide Libertarian primary election,” he’s quoted saying in the report.
Wyllie gained widespread support in the run-up to the November General Election by publicly opposing Florida’s controversial Real ID Act. The Libertarian Party state chair argued against a requirement that forced Floridians to divulge what Wyllie considers personally intrusive information just to obtain a drivers license or ID. The newest candidate for Governor is also encouraging fellow Florida Libertarians to run for other elective offices alongside him in 2014.
Earlier this month, Wyllie followed through on his promise and he officially launched an exploratory committee to examine the positives and negatives of a bid for Governor in 2014. Among the biggest topics that were discussed were the probable General Election opponents Wyllie would face. Incumbent Governor Rick Scott will most likely be the GOP nominee. And former Governor and new Democratic Party convert Charlie Crist looks to be another challenger.
Wyllie for Governor 2014
Encouraged by huge gains on Election Day last month, the Florida Libertarian Party is excited by its chances of making the upcoming election for Governor a genuine 3-man race. Party officials point out that 5 of their candidates in Florida garnered over 1 million votes each this time around, and 2014 looks to be even more successful.
Florida Libertarian Party leaders are also encouraged by what they call, ‘the mass exodus from the Republican Party’. As detailed by Jote Thompson’s Chronicles of Freedom article, ‘voters realized the GOP have an even bigger record of spending than the Democrats and are disgusted with Speaker Boehner and budget talks in Washington’. The author also suggests that many Florida Republicans are disappointed by their state’s willingness to accept Obamacare without a fight.
Florida Libertarians are already discussing the ramifications of having one of their first, major contested races. One reason Adrian Wyllie may be launching his campaign so early is to stake his claim in the face of potential challengers from within his own party. Many fellow Libertarians welcome an energized and hard-fought primary election, insisting it keeps the party and its candidates in the public eye and in the news. Others disagree, saying a primary challenge will drain the few resources Libertarian candidates have and need for the General Election.
It’s that General Election that poses the largest obstacle to Adrian Wyllie. In America’s electoral system, incumbent elected officials have an overwhelming advantage. The way things are stacking up, the Libertarian nominee will end up facing the current Governor and the former Governor.
Current Republican Governor Rick Scott, as mentioned above, is in the midst of his own internal civil war. First, he signed and championed a law that cut the number of days set aside for early voting. The result was hours-long lines and the national media making the state the butt of its jokes on election night. As west coast states were announcing final vote totals, Florida citizens were forced to stand in line throughout the night just to vote. Now, Scott has reversed his support of the law, angering many within his conservative base.
On the Democratic side, former Governor Charlie Crist is the early front-runner for the party’s nomination. Crist has his own political baggage however. As the previous Governor, he served as a Republican. During and after his re-election defeat, he switched to independent. Now, he’s officially registered himself as a Democrat. Crist is expected to face serious challengers including former Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink.
The Libertarian Wyllie’s first test will come on January 10. That’s when he will be addressing the Lake City Florida Tea Party. Traditionally a staunch Republican sub-group, many Tea Partiers have discarded their GOP membership over their party’s refusal to stand strong on what they deem government’s out of control spending.
For more information on Adrian Wyllie’s campaign for Florida Governor, visit the candidate’s Facebook page.
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