Ohio Democrats helping Libertarian Party

Tom Jackson
Mar 3, 2014


Protests filed against the candidacy of Charlie Earl, the Libertarian Party's candidate for governor, claim that he got onto the ballot because his campaign was got help from  Ohio Democrats.

Secretary of State Jon Husted's office will be holding public hearings starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the PUCO building in Columbus on protests that were filed challenging the candidacy of Earl and the Libertarian Party's candidate for attorney general, Steven Linnabary.

A passage from one of the protests, filed by the Zeigger, Tigges and Little law firm on behalf of Gregory Felsoci, described as a Libertarian who lives in Rocky River, claims that Earl's efforts to get on the ballot were "propped up" by Democrats. Here is a relevant passage:

" ... the Democratic law firm of choice, McTigue & McGinnis, LLC, and the Democratic go-to consulting firm, Strategy Network, propped up the otherwise failing efforts of the Libertarian candidates to obtain the 500 valid signatures needed to get them on the ballot. Four separate employees of Strategy Network - Eileen Vorhees, Samuel Runta, Emily Baker, and Andrew Goldsmith - collected and submitted more than fifty of the part-petition signatures on behalf of the Libertarian candidates. But Mr. Runta, for example, has interned with the Ohio Democratic Party and has also worked for Ohio Democratic and Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives Armand Budish. And the Form 14s reflect that the efforts of these four solicitors (and perhaps others that are undisclosed) were supervised, managed or otherwise organized by James Winnett, the LGBT Outreach Director of the Ohio Democratic Party, and Ian James, a long-time and well-respected leader of the Democratic Party in Ohio. 

"Moreover, the Form 14s publicly filed with your office reflect that the entity paying for the efforts of Strategy Network and McTigue & McGinnis to supervise, manage or otherwise organize the collection of signatures on behalf of the Libertarian candidates is an entity titled 
Ohioans for Liberty. Earlier filings with your office reflect that the Ohio Democratic Party has funded Ohioans for Liberty in an amount of $828,000 or more."
If Ohio Democrats are helping the Libertarian Party's candidate for governor, I see at least two possibilities: (1) The Democrats are sorry about all of that big government "tax and spend" stuff and want to make amends or (2) Democrats think Earl would take away more votes from incumbent Republican Gov. John Kasich than the Democrats' presumptive nominee, Ed FitzGerald. We report, you decide! 
Republicans rushed a new law through last  year that makes it harder for third party candidates (such as, for example, Libertarians) to get on the ballot.
When I asked Earl about the challenge, he directed my attention to these videos, in which the Ohio Republican Party's chairman, Matt Borges, takes credit for getting the challenges filed at Husted's office. Notice in the second video how Borges corrects himself, noting that the challenges technically had to be filed by Libertarians. 
"I will add that if our campaign has violated the law, and we have failed to legally obtain our signatures, I will apologize to the people of Ohio and gracefully accept my fate," Earl told me. 
Tuesday's hearings will be held before hearing officer Brad Smith, a Capital University law professore and former FEC official, who will recommend to Husted whether Earl and Linnabary should be removed from the ballot. 
My interview with Earl is here.


The Big Dog's back

pooh, pooh, where art thou pooh.

The Big Dog's back

"Republicans rushed a new law through last year that makes it harder for third party candidates (such as, for example, Libertarians) to get on the ballot."
Calling all pooh, calling pooh.


Are you antsy lil' fella?

Need to go outside and piddle?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

While extremely disappointing, I am thankful for this article Mr. Jackson. The Libertarians have been a bit of an unwitting mercenary force that has been used as a weapon instead of a tool. I believe I remember hearing on the John Batchelor Show (http://johnbatchelorshow.com/) a while ago about Jon Huntsman's campaigned being padded by Democrat/Obama fundraisers/bundlers in a similar attempt.

The Big Dog's back

h z, just when I thought you were climbing the wall, you think Dems giving money is more important than the Repubs legislating against 3rd partys? Back to square one.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

As I haven't had the chance to read the link yet I felt it best not to derail the point I wanted to make aboutthis being an ongoing practice. Believe me, I will provide additional comments later. I won't let down the higher standard you have of me.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I agree that the timing is inappropriate given the ramping-up into election season. Putting myself in the seat as a State Senator I would have voted against it because of the timing issues. Unfortunately those with legislative power, while presuming they have good intentions, feel the need to constantly pass laws, tweaks, and errata. They don't.

I really wish most of the time they'd all be sitting on their thumbs instead of constantly turning them up or down on things and disrupting people's lives. This still doesn't absolve my raised eyebrow with the Democrats or "cancel it out".

The reason I am critical most of the time is in an effort to be constructive and understand. If you don't hold people to a higher standard, what should you expect? They're no perfect angels. I am hardly flawless myself. But can we at least try to go for something better?


Re: " I really wish most of the time they'd all be sitting on their thumbs instead of constantly turning them up or down on things and disrupting people's lives."

If they feel the need to do something they could review the myriad laws and regulations already in force and weed out those that are no longer needed, or foolish to begin with. That would keep them busy for a couple of decades. After a couple hundred years making laws and regulations there are many that either do not apply or are detrimental in present times.


"because his campaign was got help from Ohio Democrats."

English. Try it.


Maybe Repubs should help the Green Party candidates? :)



Oh the irony! Husted, of all people (!) holding hearings to investigate whether someone is exerting unethical influence on an election. He has pretty much made influencing Ohio elections his own job description over the past couple of years.

Democratic law firm? Democratic go-to consulting firm? Can we then all agree that Fox should be labled "Fox Republican News"? Fair and balanced, my arse...


Re: "Fox,"?

Are you seeing things?

Where's FNC mentioned in the article or links?

Dr. Information

For someone who hates Fox News, coaster sure does know a lot about that channel and its content. Deep down he loves that channel and has relations with himself while watching it.


What a sad, pathetic day for American democracy. One of the dominant parties abuses its position in government to make it harder for third parties to get on the ballot. An opposing party helps them get on the ballot, but a member of the benefiting party files a protest with the Secretary of State asking that the candidates be excluded. All because of a little problem known as the "spoiler effect", which is a feature of plurality voting. Meanwhile no one mentions that the spoiler effect could be eliminated by using instant-runoff voting instead. Well, almost no one.