3rd-party candidate seeks to shake up Arizona Senate race

ABC News interviewed Marc Victor for "Power Trip" on Hulu.

October 14, 2022, 5:20 PM

Libertarian candidate Marc Victor says people on both sides of the aisle want him out of Arizona's Senate race, but he's "undeterred" by those who say a third-party candidate can't win.

After he pitched his "live and let live" philosophy on the debate stage last week in Phoenix, offering zingers such as "in defense of the drunken sailor," one poll has Victor up nine points in his race with Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Republican Blake Masters. This race could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Victor, a criminal defense attorney, spoke via Zoom Thursday from his law office in Honolulu, where he had scheduled appearances in federal court this week. He returns to Arizona on Wednesday.

"Unlike my opponents, I don't have the luxury of working full time on the election. I'm really not a politician. I'm a criminal defense lawyer, and I have offices both in Phoenix, and in Honolulu," he began, in an interview done for ABC News' "Power Trip" on Hulu.

"Power Trip: Those Seeking Power and Those Who Chase Them" is now streaming on Hulu.

Victor said the two-party system on the course it's on now -- where he said civility is vastly lacking -- has put the nation in a "constant struggle." He's not running on his personal opinions but what he calls the "live and let live" philosophy:

"The idea is that I should live my life, and you should live your life," he said. "It means you are the, what I like to say, iron-fisted dictator of your body, your property, your money, your time. The only restriction on that is to 'let live' -- let other people have the same courtesy."

Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, left, talks with Libertarian candidate Marc Victor, middle, and Republican candidate Blake Masters, right, prior to a televised debate in Phoenix, Oct. 6, 2022.
Ross D. Franklin/AP

Power Trip

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He said he's "undeterred" by voices who say a third-party candidate can't win a competitive race and said a vote for Republican or Democrat, among those who want change, is wasted.

"Some people say well, you know, 'I'll vote the lesser of two evils or I vote for the same old thing' To me, that's the wasted vote. To me, a vote for either a Republican or Democrat, if you're frustrated with how things are going, that's the wasted vote," Victor said.

"Everybody says, 'Oh, you're a third-party candidate. You can't win. No libertarian has ever won a national election.' I'm undeterred," he said. "Okay, just because it's never happened, doesn't mean it can't happen. In fact, it will happen if enough people hear and understand what it is I'm saying ... If you wake up in the morning, and you're crowing about, 'Oh, it's the same old politics and I want something different,' well then, do something different. Don't just vote for the lesser of two evils."

But he acknowledged he has many admirers on both sides of the aisle that want him out of the race, concerned he'll siphon away too many votes. He argued, somewhat surprisingly, he could be taking away more voters from Kelly than from Masters.

"I think people automatically assume that there are Republicans that are being siphoned off from Blake Masters to me -- that is not what I'm seeing. In fact, there was a poll early on that showed slightly more Dems are voting for me than Rs voting for me, but I can just tell you anecdotally from the emails that I get, they're pretty evenly split from both sides. In fact, people who want me to step down, some of them want me to step down because they want to help Masters," he said.

"Some of them want me to step down because they want to help Kelly, I understand that position, but the things that I'm trying to present here really are much bigger than this election. I know this election is a big deal. I get it, but whoever gets it -- if it's Masters or Kelly -- we're going to be in the same position in six years," he said.

ABC News followed up, "But how do you feel about this race potentially controlling the balance of power in the Senate -- and your presence in this race being able to shift that?"

"I'm onto a bigger project, right? We need world peace. We need to get the globe going in the right direction," Victor replied. "We've got to get the reasonable people around the world to coalesce around a principle that we call the live and let live principle, and if we don't I don't think it overstates the case to say it could be the destruction of the human race."

Appearing confident after his debate performance, he challenged his opponents to meet him again -- unscripted, unmoderated, for at least three hours -- because, he said, he still doesn't know what his opponents actually stand for.

"If we did that, I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever I would be elected in a landslide because reasonable people, not the people who have co-opted the radical right or the radical left, the reasonable ones, the ones who are left scratching their head saying what's the lesser of two evils here, those people, the ones who are big enough who are civilized enough to say, let's just get along, they would love what I'm saying. And we could actually change the world. That's what I'm running. I'm not running for your vote. I'm running for your heart and your mind for a new approach to politics."

Victor said civility has "deteriorated" since he ran for Senate in 2012 against former Sen. Jeff Flake and Richard Carmona.

"Right now, it's about calling your opponent names and finding dirt upon them, and I sit there and I ask myself, 'What is it you're for? What are you for?' I hear that you hate the other guy, and it's always these attacks against the other person. This is embarrassing. I mean, isn't there something you can say for your own positions?"

Attorney Marc J. Victor speaks to the media on Feb. 11, 2019, in Chandler, Ariz.
Matt York/AP, FILE

Looking to 2024, he said Americans should start thinking differently about their options for president.

"Look, Joe Biden isn't the answer to our problems, and very unlikely that whoever the Republican nominee is going to be the answer to our problems. We are the answer to our problems. We have got to get in our heads, that we got to think differently about politics, what we're trying to do with politics, look in the mirror that's the problem right there. We got to think differently. And until we do that, we're going to be in this endless struggle."

Asked if he was going to shake up this race with early voting underway and only weeks to go until Election Day, Victor said his goal is to continue to get his message out.

"I am going to work tireless to get my message out to the people who want to hear it, and if they hear it and they want me to do the job in Washington, I will do the job in Washington, and I will do it consistent with everything I've been saying for the last 30 years. If they don't want me to do the job, then I'll go back and enjoy my life and I'm trying to do my best really as a concerned citizen, a concerned dad, somebody who loves America loves, this country, and is frustrated with the course we're on -- if we're on a course -- I think we're just adrift. They see us adrift in the ocean. And I see big storm clouds coming and I'm saying, 'Hey, if you give me the wheel, I'll get the engine started and get us back on track.'"

Libby Cathey is one of seven ABC News campaign reporters embedded in battleground states across the country. Watch all the twists and turns of covering the midterm elections every Sunday on Hulu's "Power Trip" with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

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