Though not quite a household name, the little-known Libertarian is an impressive candidate by almost any measure.
Raised in Northern Virginia, the 36-year-old Sarvis graduated from nationally-renowned Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a magnet school in Alexandria. After earning degrees in mathematics from Harvard University and the University of Cambridge, the over-achieving Libertarian candidate worked as a software developer in the Silicon Valley before obtaining a law degree from NYU and a Master’s degree in economics from George Mason University.
While at NYU, Sarvis co-founded the NYU Journal of Law & Liberty, a libertarian-leaning law journal.
Sarvis, who lives in Annandale with his wife and two children, is socially liberal and fiscally conservative, favoring same-sex marriage, open borders, and an end to the nation’s War on Drugs. A staunch defender of civil liberties, he opposes the militarization of the nation’s law enforcement agencies and worries about future drone surveillance in the United States and abroad.
An entrepreneur and devoted free-market advocate, he also favors smaller government at all levels — a particularly tough sell in a government-saturated state with more than 322,000 federal employees and retirees, not to mention an additional 515,000 full and part-time state and local government employees.
A former law clerk for a federal Court of Appeals judge in Mississippi and an attorney for a D.C. law firm, Sarvis has extensive experience as a software engineer and mobile app developer and also performs economic research for George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, a free market-oriented think tank founded in 1980. Incredibly, he also finds time to mentor high school computer science students.
According to his campaign website, the Libertarian candidate isn’t terribly impressed by either of his major-party opponents, unabashedly describing Democrat Terry McAuliffe as a “poster child for crony capitalism” who’s clueless on economics while denouncing Republican Ken Cuccinelli as “a hyper-partisan opportunist promising to foist a regressive ideology” on the good folks of the Old Dominion.
Both candidates, he says, are “terribly wrong for Virginia.”
Two years ago, the technologically-savvy Sarvis challenged longtime Democratic lawmaker Richard L. Saslaw in Virginia’s 35th Senate District, polling 36 percent of the vote against the eight-term incumbent as the Republican nominee.
Sarvis, who reportedly has about 4,000 signatures on his nominating petitions — 10,000 valid signatures are required by the state’s June 11 filing deadline — is only the second Libertarian in the party’s history and the first in a dozen years to seek the Virginia governorship. In 2001, longtime party activist William Redpath, a financial analyst who later served as party’s national chairman, garnered 14,497 votes in a race won by Democrat Mark Warner.