Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich may have Libertarian opponent made possible yesterday as party of a federal court ruling. On Tuesday, January 7, 2014, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson ruled in favor of a preliminary injunction on a Ohio law which effectively shut out Libertarian Party candidates from getting on the ballot. The ruling will allow Libertarian Party candidate Charlie Earl the ability to face Kasich head on at the polls this November in the battle to be Ohio's next governor.
The law was passed by a Republican majority who tout a free market, however become extremely protectionist when they themselves face competition utilizing exclusionary laws to keep themselves in power. The law in question was Ohio Senate Bill 193 which was passed in November, 2013 and immediately signed by Governor Kasich effectively kept minor party candidates from being on the ballot. It was often jokingly called the "John Kasich Re-Election Protection Act". The Republican controlled legislature has been systematically working to keep Libertarians off the ballot for nearly ten years and nearly each time a new law is challenged, it is ruled unconstitutional.
Ironically Kasich is facing issues with more conservative Republicans relating to his support of Ohio's Medicaid expansion. Conservatives may take a closer look at Earl now that he is on the ballot as he has come out against Medicaid expansion.
Charlie Earl said of the protectionist law, “It was intentional, and it was ludicrous, and the court saw through it.” Earl will now need to file 500 voter signatures via petition by February 5, 2014 to qualify for a May 6, 2014 primary, after which it is highly likely it will move him to the general election in November, 2014.