Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie believes voters are upset with both major party candidates in the Florida governor’s race, and that will allow him to pull off an upset victory over Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Republican-turned-Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist.
“We have two children for Florida governor right now and I’m the only adult in the race,” he said in an interview Thursday with Associated Press reporters.
The remarks came the day after Crist and Scott fought over Crist’s use of a fan during a live televised debate, delaying the start of the debate for several minutes as Crist stood on the stage alone.
“I hope the other two candidates keep doing exactly what they’re doing because it is ensuring that people are going to look for other viable options,” said Wyllie.
Wyllie is still a long-shot candidate. He has raised only $110,000 in a race where Crist and Scott have already spent tens of millions of dollars. But polls suggest he could get 10 percent of the vote, enough to be a spoiler in a race where negative campaigning has turned off many voters.
Wyllie, 44, of Palm Harbor, owns a small information technology consulting firm and is clearly different from Crist and Scott.
The state budget has grown by $11 billion under Scott and now stands at $77 billion. Wyllie wants to cut it by 30 percent.
“When you say that right off the bat, there’s a kneejerk reaction: ‘Thirty percent! That’s draconian! That’s outrageous!'” Wyllie said.
But he said the budget is bloated by big contracts that lawmakers and the governor steer toward friends and political supporters. He also said some functions of government should be reduced.
His proposal would cut state spending by $23 billion. To achieve that, he said, all property taxes should be eliminated and 2 percent of the 6 percent sales tax Florida now collects should be given to the counties to replace the property tax revenue they rely on.
“It’s going to stimulate the housing market here in Florida,” Wyllie said. “That tax cut for the average Floridian is going to be about $150. When you eliminate that, the cost of their monthly mortgage goes down. We’ve just reduced a barrier to home ownership. We’ve made homeownership more affordable, which it turn drives up demand.”
And unlike Scott and Crist, Wyllie supports legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
“I personally don’t believe that government has the authority to tell peaceful adults what they can or can’t put into their own bodies,” Wyllie said. He said current marijuana laws criminalize people for possessing a plant, swelling a costly prison population and breaking up families.
Wyllie also supports keeping abortion legal up to the point where a fetus can survive outside the woman. He said he would sign legislation repealing a law enacted by Scott that requires women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion.
He also said Florida’s “stand your ground” law that allows people to use deadly force if they feel their lives are threatened was never needed and it was only passed by lawmakers looking to make political points.
Asked how he would get his ideas passed with no like-minded Libertarians in the Legislature, he said he would use the bully pulpit of the governor’s office to force public demand for the issues.
“If I’m elected governor I’m going to be the most hated man in Tallahassee by the power brokers,” he said. “With the support of the people we can get these done. These ideas make sense, but they are the kind of things that Republicans and Democrats will never do because it doesn’t benefit them personally.”