Augustus Sol Invictus, a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate from Florida, has been called a fascist and is a pagan who once killed and drank a goat’s blood.
He’s also an attorney licensed to practice law in four states and federal court, a small-business owner and is genially known as “Auggie Sunshine” to his law school pals.
Shortly after declaring his candidacy for the Senate seat being vacated by now-presidential candidate Marco Rubio, the 32-year-old Invictus (his full name means “majestic unconquered sun” in Latin) has been ridiculed as a walking freak-show – unfairly, one friend says.
“He and I chatted a little bit about it … it sounds like it’s a circus down there,” says Heather Kuruvilla, an independent museum professional in Pennsylvania.
She’s been friends with Invictus since their days as law students at DePaul University in Chicago from 2008-11.
Law schools subdivide their first-year students into “sections” to teach beginning courses such as criminal and constitutional law. Kuruvilla and Invictus were in the same section, she said.
“I actually feel a little bad for him but I know he can take it,” Kuruvilla says.
“We hung out fairly regularly and got along really well,” she says. “A lot of people found him to be strange but he never said anything offensive in my presence.
“I guess people found it weird he was pagan,” Kuruvilla adds. “He was open about it and his religious beliefs. But he was respectful about other people’s beliefs; he never talked down about other people’s religious beliefs.”
Invictus went viral recently when he told The Associated Press that he sacrificed a goat and has neo-Nazi supporters. Last year, he took on the criminal appeal of the former leader of a central Florida neo-Nazi group. The man had been convicted on domestic terrorism charges.
Adrian Wyllie last week quit his post as chair of Florida’s Libertarian Party in protest of Invictus’ candidacy. Wyllie was the Libertarian candidate for governor last year, getting almost 4 percent of the vote.
Invictus has written papers in which he variously renounced his citizenship and predicted “a great war.” But he also has said he doesn’t advocate violence.
That same page shows Invictus passed the bar in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York – no easy feat, especially considering he had to pass “character and fitness” reviews in each state.
He’s also admitted to appear in federal court in Central Florida. Invictus graduated from college from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
“People are trying to write him off as this lunatic racist or a cartoon character, but he’s pretty intelligent, definitely well-read, a little kooky, but so what?” Kuruvilla says.
“People are making these assumptions he’s xenophobic but in law school he was friends with people of all different races, different religions, of different sexualities.”