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The state's first Libertarian candidate for governor reminds you he's in the running, too. 

The Underdog

On Nov. 6 William Redpath will see how statewide votes for a third party stack up, especially when the gubernatorial race between Republican Mark Earley and Democrat Mark Warner is tight. But more importantly, he says, he'll see how many Virginians truly want less government.

Redpath isn't fazed by his slim chances. There's still time, he says, to win your vote.

Redpath is a vice president of consulting for BIA Financial Network, a financial-consulting firm in Northern Virginia. Before joining the group in 1985, Redpath was a senior financial analyst with NBC in New York. Redpath has run twice for the Virginia General Assembly: once in 1993 for a 34th District seat in the House of Delegates and once in 1998 in a special election of the 33rd District for state Senate.

In the week before election day, Style caught up with Redpath.

Style: Apart from your slogan "Anything That's Peaceful" — meaning anything that is peaceful should not be illegal or should at least be tolerated — what most precisely differentiates you from the other candidates?

Redpath: I'm the only candidate who stands for limited government. That's the bottom line. I'm the only candidate who will work to reduce government spending and reduce tax revenues.

A lot of people blamed Ralph Nader for taking votes away from Al Gore. Do you think your candidacy presents a similar situation?

Yes, it does. But I address that. I'm not running to be a spoiler. And there's no way to know. If the margin of difference between the two Marks is less than the number of votes I get, there's no way of knowing whether I really was a spoiler. It might have been people who voted for me who wouldn't have voted for the other two candidates, who wouldn't have voted for governor or who would have written somebody in. There's an easy solution to the problem. It's called instant-runoff voting and the details are on my Web site [www.redpath2001.com].

What would you tell someone who supports your candidacy but worries his vote could be diluted by voting for you?

If you want less government, if you want more economic freedom and more personal freedom, voting for the two Marks is a wasted vote. Parties become officially recognized in Virginia when they get 10 percent of the vote in a statewide race. So if you like Libertarian candidates, then vote Libertarian.

What is the biggest problem Virginians face and how would you fix it?

I'd work to restore the concept of limited government. It really has fallen out of the political consciousness of Americans, including Virginians. I don't think that anybody really stops to think enough about the problems that come about from so much government spending and taxes that are so high. So government is slowly but surely eating up our economy. With general-fund spending up 42 percent in the last four years, the per capita general-fund expenditures increasing 91 percent in the 1990s, I think that basically the concept of limited government has unfortunately, with the exception of a small minority, disappeared from our political discourse.

One of the reasons you chose to run for governor was to get Libertarian public-policy positions into the gubernatorial debates, to which you were excluded. How has that affected your campaign?

I mean debate in the broader sense here — though it would have been good being in the debates. If I had been included certainly a lot more people would know about me and know my stance on issues better than what they currently do.

If you are elected governor what will be the first thing you do?

I would pardon everyone in Virginia prisons who has been convicted of a nonviolent consensual
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