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Ohio gov race a race with Libertarian Party's Charlie Earl on the ballot

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With the addition of Libertarian Party of Ohio candidate for governor Charlie Earl, who announced his certification for the primary and general election ballots today, the gameboard for the governor's race in Ohio just got really interesting.

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Charlie Earl, attorney general candidate Steven Linnabary, and about 20 more Libertarian candidates for other offices throughout Ohio, will be candidates in the state's May 6 primary, an announcement from Aaron Keith Harris, LPO Communications Director, said.

Coal from Kasich, Roses from FitzGerald?

If you're incumbent Republican Gov. John R. Kasich, one of the brood of Tea Party governor's who rose to power in 2010 with less than 50 percent of the vote, an appropriate Christmas gift this year could be a bag of coal. If you're Ed FitzGerald, the little known Democratic candidate from Cleveland that a just released poll by the nationally respected Quinnipiac Polling Institute says trails Gov. Kasich by just five percentage points, an appropriate Christmas gift this year could be a dozen roses.

For Capital Square insiders and national pundits who believe the conventional wisdom that the 2014 election is Gov. Kasich's election to lose, that scenario becomes more real with the addition of Earl, who according to the nationally known and accurate polling outfit Public Policy Polling could attract up to six percent of voters who might otherwise break to the incumbent governor, who only 46 percent of voters in the new Q-poll said deserves reelection.

The release from the Libertarian Party of Ohio today that Charlie Earl qualified for the ballot was sweeter given the attempt by GOP state lawmakers and Gov. Kasich to remove challenger parties from the 2014 election.

In November, Kasich signed SB 193—known statewide as the "John Kasich Re-Election Protection Act." Passed with only Republican votes and with no person or group testifying in its favor, SB 193 banned the Libertarian Party and other challenger parties from the 2014 election.

In January, a federal judge ruled in LPO v. Husted that Ohio could not enforce SB 193 in 2014.

Libertarian Party of Ohio Political Director Bob Bridges said the party will appeal rulings that excluded from the ballot Libertarian hopefuls for secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and a state house candidate.

"We have reason to believe that some local boards of election improperly invalidated many signatures and petitions for these candidates based on a mistaken interpretation of who is eligible to sign and circulate petitions," Bridges said. "This is about what we expected from a highly partisan secretary of state with a horrible record on voting rights."

Under Ohio election law, Ohio voters may not sign or circulate petitions for Libertarian candidates if they are neither registered Libertarians nor “unaffiliate” voters.

"With the way Libertarians have been treated by the legislature and the secretary of state over the past decade, we have been forced into the position of knowing the law better than those enforcing it," said Scott Pettigrew, the Libertarian candidate in the 62nd House district.

"Given that we spent four months fighting SB 193 for the right to exist as a political party in Ohio and that about half of our supporters were prohibited by law from helping with the petition effort because they voted for Ron Paul in the Republican primary, I think we did an amazing job," said Kevin Knedler, LPO Executive Committee Chair.

"We're the only challenger party to survive the Republican attempt to end electoral choice in Ohio," Knedler said. "That means fiscal conservatives and people who value individual liberty and Constitutional rights still have an option in November."

And its that option in November that Team Kasich-Taylor is most worried about, while Team FitzGerald-Neuhardt is most hopeful for, since it enables a scenario in which voters unhappy with Gov. Kasich's first-term can cast a vote for someone other than Ed FitzGerald and his running mate Sharen Neuhardt.

In 2010, a low turnout election year as 2014 promises to be based on history, citizen John Kasich squeaked by the then-incumbent Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland by two percent or only 77,127 votes. In 2010, of the more than 150,000 votes that went to third party candidates that year, the Libertarian Party of Ohio candidate, Ken Matesz, took in 92,116 or 60 percent.

The Q-poll shows Gov. Kasich enjoys a 51 - 36 percent job approval rating, virtually unchanged in the last 12 months. But his lead has narrowed to 43 - 38 percent. By 61 - 31 percent, Buckeye voters say that Kasich is a strong leader, by 52 - 35 percent they think he is honest and trustworthy. But only 43 percent say he cares compared to 47 percent who believe he doesn't care.

The governor gets a 42 - 30 percent favorability rating, but only 46 percent believe he deserves to be reelected.

In a straight up election, with all his flaws in plain sight, Gov. Kasich wins a second term and the chance to parlay that into what will be his last chance at the White House ring. As GOP governor's in New Jersey and Wisconsin, Chris Christie and Scott Walker, respectively, falter, as Christie has with so-called BridgeGate, a slow down of traffic over the George Washington Bridge for days at the request of one of his top staffers, and Walker, who is coming under fire for news related to his time as a Milwaukee commissioner, Gov. Kasich's star shines brighter by process of elimination as Republicans look for their presidential standard bearer for 2016.

With the addition of Earl to the mix, Ed FitzGerald's Hail Mary scenario to the governor's office could come true if a three-way race ends with FitzGerald governor because Earl chipped enough voters from Kasich to leave the Cleveland Democrat the last candidate standing come November 5, the day after Election Day this November.

The news article Ohio gov race a race with Libertarian Party's Charlie Earl on the ballot appeared first on Columbus Government Examiner.

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