The Libertarian candidate for governor of Florida is getting some attention in a race where there's little excitement about the front-runners.
Adrian Wyllie is former chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida and a former syndicated radio host. Aside from campaigning, he owns an IT consulting firm.
Wyllie may not get a lot of votes, but he might impact the race. The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows incumbent Republican Gov. Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, are virtually tied. Wyllie is getting about 8 percent of voter support.
Quinnipiac assistant polling director Peter Brown says Wyllie’s voters could make a difference. “At this stage, it doesn’t look like Mr. Wyllie is competitive to win, but his voters could make the winner,” Brown says. “The big question is – will those who tell us today that they’re going to vote for Mr. Wyllie actually vote for Mr. Wyllie? If they don’t vote for Mr. Wyllie, will they stay at home or will they vote for one of the two major party candidates?”
We spoke with Adrian Wyllie from his campaign headquarters in New Port Richey.
Q: This is your first run for office. Why do you want to be governor of Florida?
Wyllie: I got tired of corruption in state politics. I got tired and angry at the direction that Republicans and Democrats were taking our state, taking our country. And I decided if I was going to sit around and complain, I’m not doing any good. I needed to stand up and do something about it.
Basically, I just want to fix the government and then go home and live my life. So, that’s really my objective. It’s more of a duty than anything else.
Q: How do you get your message out when you have little name recognition and there’s no way to compete with the top two candidates in terms of funding?
Wyllie: We’re never going to have 50 or $100 million like the other guys because we’re not for sale to the special interests or the crony corporatists. But we’re finding we don’t need the big money to run negative attack ads. Now we probably will be running TV ads in October, but we will never have the money to run three every commercial break like the other two guys are doing.
So we are really relying on the grassroots, on social media, on the mainstream media to treat this as a three-way race. I think that all we need to do is reach out through the grassroots. We’re just offering economic freedom ad individual liberty, and that platform sells universally to virtually all people.
Q: To be fair, you’re not the first candidate to say you can’t be bought, that you’re not beholden to special interests. Why should we believe you?
Wyllie: When someone is generating hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions, from PAC’s (political action committees), from corporate entities and things like that, they are not immune from special interests. We’re getting donations from individuals. Nobody’s trying to buy us because they know we’re not for sale.
Day one, I will instruct the IT department to set up a web cam in the Governor’s Office so that any meeting that I have with any special interest group, any legislator, any lobbyist will be streamed live on the Internet for everyone to see.
Q: The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Scott and Crist are virtually tied. Some will say that you’re just a spoiler and should get out of the race. What do you say to that?
Wyllie: I wouldn’t be in this race if I didn’t believe we had a legitimate chance of winning. Now granted, yes, I’m a long shot. You know, if you like what I have to say, go out and spread the word. But keep in mind that it only takes 33.4 percent to win the election in a three-way race. (Former wrestler) Jesse Ventura, for example, was a Reform Party candidate. He was polling at 10 percent one month before the debates and he ended up winning the governor’s election (in Minnesota in 1998).
So, it’s going to really depend on the people of Florida to stop voting out of fear. Vote for someone who you truly believe in. Vote for someone who your philosophies and your beliefs most closely align with. I truly believe that if the people of Florida do that, I will be the next governor of Florida.