Adrian Wyllie, the outlaw Libertarian running for governor
The relaxed crowd of happy hour craft beer drinkers Thursday night seemed totally turned off by politics as usual in Florida — the ideal audience for Adrian Wyllie.
The Libertarian Party candidate for governor, Wyllie is running in a year when polls show voters are starved for an alternative to Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist, the likely Democratic nominee.
At first glance, people at the Sea Dog Brewing Company appeared taken aback that a guy in jeans and a rumpled shirt with a glass of craft beer in his hand could be a serious candidate for governor, and even people who like his message say victory is highly improbable.
"It's refreshing to hear that there's an option out there," said Alan Wegner, 56, a building engineer and registered independent. "Between you and me, he probably won't win. I'm hoping he does, but maybe he'll make a dent."
Most voters have no idea who Wyllie is, and third-party candidates have a dismal track record in statewide elections in Florida. But polls suggest his chances are better because voters are disillusioned with the front-runners, and he could earn a spot in upcoming statewide TV debates, which would spread his anti-government message to the masses for the first time.
"Something is changing," Wyllie, 44, told the crowd. "We're still an underdog, but we have a legitimate shot to win this election."