On Saturday, a crowd of supporters gathered outside Galaxy Brewing Company with signs and T-shirts in anticipation of Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe’s arrival.
Sharpe’s rally, hosted in the Downtown Binghamton restaurant just days before the general election, drew around 80 people. Sharpe is running against Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo, Republican Marc Molinaro, Serve America Movement candidate Stephanie Miner and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins in Tuesday’s elections.
According to a Siena College poll released Sunday, Sharpe is currently favored by 3 percent of the vote, while Cuomo leads the pack, maintaining a 13-point lead over Molinaro, the anticipated runner-up. Nevertheless, in his remarks at the rally, Andrew Hollister, Sharpe’s running mate for lieutenant governor, looked to unite voters, political party associations aside.
“This year is not the year of the Democrats,” Hollister said. “It’s not the year of the Republicans. It’s not even the year of the Libertarians. It is the year of the families of New York. It’s the year of the small businesses in New York. It is the year of the individual in New York. On Nov. 6, we are going to elect Larry Sharpe.”
Gold, the color of the Libertarian party, was alluded to multiple times throughout the rally as a contrast to the reds and blues that are usually seen at Republican and Democratic events.
“This is a marathon,” Hollister said. “We are in the final sprint, and we are going for the gold.”
Sharpe had similar sentiments regarding the Democratic and Republican parties.
“For 16 years, Democrats have run this state,” Sharpe said. “They’ve won every single statewide election, and they’ve fixed nothing. This state is in a death spiral because of them. For 16 years, the Republican Party has watched this happen and they have no plan and no movement. I’m running because they suck.”
According to Sharpe, over 100,000 New Yorkers leave the state every year because the state has continued to lose jobs and innovation. He highlighted this issue at the rally, in addition to his plans to repeal the SAFE Act, a gun regulation law signed by Cuomo in 2013, decrease taxes, legalize recreational use of marijuana, support small businesses and minimize government spending on education.
Although Sharpe heavily attacked Cuomo at the rally, he also took shots at other candidates. In a gubernatorial debate held Nov. 1, which featured every candidate but Cuomo, Sharpe went after Molinaro, something he referenced at the rally to approving cheers and applause.
“How many of you saw the debate recently?” Sharpe said. “You didn’t hear many ideas. What you heard was the same old thing again and again.”
Attendee Andrew Yinkowski, 19, of Fulton, New York, has been supporting Sharpe for a year.
“I found the campaign last October,” Yinkowski said. “I was thinking about how bad New York looked as I was driving through, and I was thinking, ‘Is there anyone running for governor who can fix that?’ I’m Libertarian-leaning already and found Larry Sharpe, and ever since, I’ve been supporting and working with the campaign.”
Midterm elections will take place statewide on Tuesday, Nov. 6.