Adrian Wyllie a Factor in Florida Governor's Race, But Can He Be a Contender?

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: July 24, 2014 3:55 AM
Adrian Wyllie

Adrian Wyllie

Libertarian Adrian Wyllie was the big winner of Wednesday’s Quinnipiac University poll looking at the Florida gubernatorial race

Wyllie does well in the poll, taking 9 percent. While far behind Crist, who leads with 39 percent, and Scott at 37 percent, Wyllie looks poised to do better than Libertarians ever have before in Florida.

But polls, especially this early, can be fool’s gold for third-party candidates. Polls showed Crist going toe to toe with Marco Rubio back in 2010 when he ran for the Senate with no party affiliation. Some of them taken in the summer of 2010 showed Crist in the lead with around, and in some cases taking more than, 40 percent in a three-candidate race. When the smoke cleared, Rubio beat Crist by 19 percent.

Libertarians know firsthand how one of their candidates can fail to live up to the polls. Lucas Overby broke double digits against David Jolly and Alex Sink in a special congressional election earlier this year. Overby took 5 percent when the final votes were counted.

Ray Netherwood also didn’t quite do as well as some polls showed. In another special congressional election this year, Netherwood was running neck and neck with Democrat April Freeman for second place, far behind Republican Curt Clawson. Despite polls showing him with 13 percent, Netherwood finished with less than 4 percent.

Third-party candidates collapsing in the polls isn’t a new phenomenon -- look at Ross Perot and John Anderson. But the arrow is up for Libertarians in Florida and, if he isn’t a contender to beat Scott or Crist, Wyllie is showing he can be a factor come November. Wyllie is helped by having some other solid candidates on the ballot with him. Overby is back, this time as Jolly’s only rival. So is Netherwood. Libertarians missed out by not running challengers against Jeff Atwater or Adam Putnam who face very weak Democrats in November, but Bill Wohlsifer is running a scrappy campaign for attorney general. The Libertarians are certainly set to build on Gary Johnson’s and Alex Snitker’s efforts in Florida.

Wyllie is helped since both Scott and Crist do poorly in the new poll. By mixing fiscal conservatism by calling for less taxes and small government and social liberalism on marijuana legalization and gay marriage, Wyllie can take votes away from both Scott and Crist.

The big question now for Wyllie is how does he go from being a factor to being a contender. It’s tough to envision Wyllie having the needed cash to run statewide commercials. Wyllie has been trying to get into the fall debates and he has to prove he’s a viable candidate. Wednesday’s poll was a nice step in that direction.

The task for Wyllie is clear, though he has to hope his numbers don’t collapse before the debates. While Scott and Crist pound away at each other, Wyllie has to reach out to voters turned off by all the mudslinging. Another good poll or two and Wyllie’s case to be included in the debates will only be strengthened. Even if he’s not in the debates, Wyllie can still have a banner year for Florida Libertarians and give them a good road map for the future.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (11)

10:06PM AUG 28TH 2014
Why vote between 2 known liars? Florida, we are fortunate enough not to be stuck picking one liar or the other this time. We actually have an alternative. Take advantage of the opportunity. Adrian Wyllie deserves my vote. He is a honest average Floridian just as you and I , that is willing to stand up and do something for the interest of all of us here in Florida. The other candidates both Republican and Democrat are owned and controlled by special interest, like puppets and will lie to your face to gain your vote, then continue the same old agenda that we complain about year after year. Time to get off this merry-go-round, election after election, thinking it will be any different. Take a stand, vote for the candidate that loves this state and is willing to take time out of his life, effort and money to SERVE the people of Florida and stop voting for these ‘paid for’ career politicians that are only out for money and fame and have zero interest in us Floridians. Even if it’s just for honesty alone, vote for Adrian Wyllie instead of the other two (Scott/Crist) which are proven liars. The choice is yours and yours alone, if you want the same old corruption and slap in the face, go ahead and vote for one of the two puppets (Scott/Crist) OR do what is right for our (yours and your children’s) future and vote for Adrian Wyllie. Support him by donating to his campaign, spreading the word and contribute to the super brochure program which I think is very powerful. Visit his website today.
7:47PM AUG 6TH 2014
I sent him another $25 two days ago! Folks, we have got to get this man enough money to put up some TV ad's prior to the debates. If he can get some TV ad's, it will help his campaign tremendously
1:35PM JUL 28TH 2014
Folks, it all comes down to recognition. We need to spread the word about Adrian Wyllie in order for him to win. I am very much behind the “super brochure” plan, so much so, that I personally have completely covered my entire precinct where I live. I think it’s the most affective and economical way to bring the super voters, attention to Adrian Wyllie. Most don’t even know there is another choice other than scott/christ. It only cost me $47.50 to cover my precinct. I urge others to do the same. If you want him elected, you must do something to make it happen. Just your one vote will not do it. Take advantage of this great opportunity we have to get a Libertarian in the Governor’s office. We (Floridians) desperately need this. I beg you to do what you can.
3:10PM JUL 26TH 2014
I smell a Political Revolution happening in Florida come November.
Stephen Aiken
10:11AM JUL 26TH 2014
The Author forgot to mention that Adrian Wyllie will be in 3 of the debates.

The main reason that Libertarians loose is because the Party as well as the candidates have very little money and therefor can't get the message to most of the voters. But now that Adrian will be in three out of the four debates that will change everything, and I think that he will win because of it.
Ken Willey
10:26PM JUL 24TH 2014
Thank you for a very fair article.
Rebecca Sharp
9:55PM JUL 24TH 2014
Crist will be running as a Libertarian in his next race, you mark my words!
Rebecca Sharp
9:53PM JUL 24TH 2014
Excellent article! Rest assured that Wyllie is our next Governor, having the political machine eating their nay-saying words! He has secret weapons you all don't even know about yet! The TIDE IS TURNING!
Rick Adams
6:11PM JUL 24TH 2014
Finally, a positive column about Florida Libertarians without all that spoiler BS that the MSM keeps peddling.
Dan Walsh
10:00AM JUL 24TH 2014
Why people still believe in the 2 party system is beyond me... I grew up as a Democrat... then became a Republican in the 90's while becoming a Florida resident... and in 2000 became an Independent after realizing I was watching 2 actors in a play directed and produced by the 2 party system...
3:12PM JUL 26TH 2014
They (the duopoly) have essentially morphed into one big spending, Progressive Neocon party. There is really no difference between Crist and
Scott. Adrian, on the other hand, brings an appealing and common sense approach that many Floridians will identify with once they see him debate.

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