As we wrote in March (see below), a federal judge felt the Republican Party of Ohio had a hand in actively working to remove Libertarian Party Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl off the May 6, 2014 primary ballot. In that March decision to keep Earl off the ballot, U.S. District Judge Michael Watson commented that Ohio Republicans appear to be behind the effort to disqualify Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl from the May primary ballot. Yesterday, May 1, 2014 lost an appeal to that decision and the Libertarian Party of Ohio has committed to appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The issue surrounds Earl's campaign, who had enough petitions to qualify to be on the ballot, however failed to disclose the professional petitioners gathering the signatures were employees. The Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) and Earl did not feel the petitioners were employees, however were independent contractors. The courts, so far, have not agreed.
The Libertarian Party of Ohio issued this statement yesterday on the court's ruling:
"We are very disappointed in the court's decision. Our lead attorney Mark Brown is asking the court for a stay, and is appealing the decision to the United States Supreme Court.
Whatever the outcome, the Libertarian Party of Ohio is looking forward to taking our unique message of fiscal responsibility and social tolerance to Ohio voters in the May 6 primary—where we expect thousands of voters to choose the Libertarian ballot—and in the general election with more than 20 candidates across the state."
The appeals court opinion stated, "We note that the LPO has struggled to become and remain a ballot-qualified party in Ohio, and we acknowledge that this decision entails that their efforts must continue still. But we also note that we decide one case at a time, on the record before us. In so doing, we preserve the First Amendment's primary place in our democracy over the long run."
Republicans felt threatened Earl would draw votes away from the liberal Republican incumbent Governor John Kasich. Even though many Ohio Republicans do not like many of Kasich's decisions while in office, he is the best name recognition candidate they have and worked to protect their turf. One would think Republicans would welcome competition and the free market, however not so in Ohio, where protectionist laws and actions are the standard.