Ron Paul has endorsed Republican Ken Cuccinelli for Virginia governor, turning away from Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who many feel could bleed away GOP votes.
Paul, a former Republican Texas congressman with libertarian leanings who ran for the presidency three times, did not mention Sarvis in his letter supporting Cuccinelli, reports Politico
. Instead, he praised Cuccinelli as someone who will "stand up to the politicians of both parties in Washington."
Polls show Cuccinelli trailing Democrat Terry McAuliffe, however the GOP candidate questioned the survey
which showed the biggest gap — nine points behind his opponent.
Sarvis is seen as a potential spoiler who could take votes from the Republican state attorney general, who in the past has spoken out against gay marriage and abortion. However Paul remains popular among libertarians, so his endorsement could lead some back to the Cuccinelli side.
But Paul said Cuccinelli stands for many of the same views libertarians hold.
"Ken Cuccinelli has always stood for smaller government and limited government," wrote Paul in an open letter. "He has consistently and unapologetically worked with the Liberty movement in Virginia. His stand against Obamacare shows he is willing to stand up to Washington’s continued abuses on our individual liberties."
And Paul quoted libertarian activist Donna Holt, who called Cuccinelli "the most pro-liberty legislator and attorney general we have ever had in Virginia."
Cuccinelli said he is "thrilled" by Paul's endorsement, as he considers the former lawmaker "a true warrior in defense of our liberty and first principles."
Sarvis, who told CNN
in September that he voted for Paul in Virginia's GOP presidential primary in 2012, is downplaying the endorsement. His campaign says instead it is happy to have the support of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's 2012 presidential nominee.
Meanwhile, Sarvis has learned that he is not being invited
to the final gubernatorial debates on Oct. 24 at Virginia Tech, with organizers saying he has polled under the 10 percent threshold needed to participate.
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