Adrian Wyllie to lobby in Tallahassee next year

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Although he came up far short of projections and his own expectations, Adrian Wyllie did add some needed spice to a desultory gubernatorial campaign in the Sunshine State this year.

The Libertarian Party of Florida’s gubernatorial nominee flirted with double-digits in the polls for parts of the year, but at the end of Election Night he had garnered only approximately 3.8 percent of the vote, a far cry from the 10-13 percent he scored in some voter surveys. 

Nevertheless it was impressive for a third-party candidate, and Wyllie intends to be in Tallahassee when the 2015 legislative session commences next March – but as a lobbyist, working for the Liberty First Network.

“The Liberty First Network is kind of unique as far as lobbying firms go,” he told SaintPetersBlog this afternoon. “They don’t have any type of special interests or industry or corporate sector ties. They exclusively work on legislation that is part of a Liberty agenda…and relies pretty exclusively on donations.”

Wyllie will be joining LFN’s other lobbyist, John Hallman, who previously served as the State Director for the Tea Party-based FreedomWorks organization.

Among the issues that Wyllie says he’ll be working on in Tallahassee next spring include trying to get a statewide ban on red-light cameras, working to take away some of the power from the beer distributors who have blocked Florida from legalizing 64-ounce growlers in the past couple of years , and repealing the REAL ID law for Florida Drivers licenses, a pet peeve of Wyllie’s that led him to getting intentionally arrested earlier this year so he could have legal standing to fight the law’s constitutionality in court (He has several issues with the 2005 federal law that was adopted in Florida in 2008, such as requiring residents seeking a driver’s license or identification card to have their photo digitally captured).

Looking back to his campaign, Wyllie says he has little regrets, and maintains that his exclusion from the second gubernatorial debate in October (which will go down in history simply as #FanGate) was the real “game-changer” in terms of failing to procure more support in the election. “Had we been able to win that battle, we could have done considerably more than what we ended up with,” he says, though he remains “very proud of what we accomplished.”

Wyllie went as far as filing a lawsuit to get into that October 15 debate but was unsuccessful.

As far as the Libertarian Party of Florida goes, Wyllie says their next challenge is to try to register new voters to the party, and he’s hoping to reach 5 percent of the electorate, which he says would grant the Libertarians “major party status.” But that’s certainly no guarantee even with the growing disaffection of the two-party system in Florida.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.