How A Libertarian Nearly Defeated Ohio Gov. John Kasich

As goes Ohio, so goes the nation…?

July 29, 2015—Above is the phrase liberal (barely a) Republican Governor John Kasich hopes will send his falling political star back into the milky way of relevancy. His long shot campaign is hinging on the hope that something terrible will happen to every other establishment candidate in the race, or that said establishment candidate will see fit to adopt him onto their ticket out of lack of choice.

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His claim to fame Governor_of_Ohio_John_Kasich_at_FITN_in_Nashua_NH_by_Michael_Vadon_02is what appears to be a rather impressive finish in his 2014 reelection effort in which he won 86 out of 88 counties in Ohio with over 60 percent of the vote. To the average voter this would seem good, but to someone who lived in Ohio during the 2014 election and was an active observer, it was horrible. In fact, this article is about how John Kasich nearly lost his reelection effort to lifelong Republican turned Libertarian Charlie Earl.

The 2014 race was very interesting. Democrats hand picked a young good looking county executive out of Cuyahoga County (located near Cleveland) by the name of Ed Fitzgerald. Kasich went unopposed in the primary process due to mistakes within the state’s conservative networks not fielding a candidate.

From the start, Fitzgerald proved massively incompetent. First he chose then withdrew a Lieutenant Governor candidate from his ticket due to $1,000,000 owed in overdue taxes. Next, Fitzgerald was found at 4:30 in the morning in a parking lot with a woman who wasn’t his wife. It’s OK though, because according to Mr. Fitzgerald, they were just “talking.”

Then to make matters worse, Fitzgerald, himself a former FBI agent, was driving without a license for 10 years. Fitzgerald did not support getting rid of driving licenses, he just thought he was too good for them, and everyone else should have them or be punished. However, the saddest point in the campaign by far was in the Spring of 2014 when Fitzgerald learned after months of hard campaigning his name recognition had not grown a percentage but instead fell from earlier months.

Truth be told, Ed Fitzgerald is lucky he got 32 percent of the vote, which is more than even fellow Democrats thought he deserved. This was evident when a month before the election major Democratic leaders, including down ticket statewide candidates, started to downplay and bad talk Fitzgerald for his horrid campaign. In fact, many progressives jumped ship and joined the socialist Green Party candidate’s gubernatorial bid which saw a near doubling in statewide votes from their previous election in 2010, from 56,767 votes to 101,706.

If there is really earl_charles.pnganything such as a perfect storm, this was it, and if there is really anything such as a viable Libertarian candidate, Charlie was the guy. Charlie Earl was a 68-year-old former Republican Ohio State Representative who term-limited himself after serving one and a half terms, choosing to return to the private sector working in radio and teaching.

Charlie Earl is by far the most talented retail politician I have ever seen, besting out even the Party Chief Gary Johnson. On top of it all, Republicans genuinely liked and trusted Mr. Earl’s Christian brand of libertarianism which did not fully support gay marriage or drug use but insisted it not be made criminal. Charlie showed his chops in 2010 when he received nearly 5 percent of the statewide vote running against the well liked Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted. 2014 was to be Ohio’s Libertarian moment.

Kasich and his cronies could see his campaign’s silver bullet coming a mile away. Tea Party Republicans this day hate Kasich’s guts for ramming Obamacare and Medicaid expansions through executive order down Ohio’s throat in 2013. They wanted revenge. The Tea Party got to liking Earl in his 2010 election where he spoke the principles of limited government, and without a primary challenger they were ready to support him.

Early intel I received from within the Tea Party said Earl was polling at 10 percent in internal Ohio GOP general election polls, and Tea Party robocall surveys had Republican primary voters voting for Earl 33 percent of the time when going against Kasich. Though this number is sad for an established candidate, it is mind boggling for someone not even on the ballot. It shows either Earl is very well liked or Kasich is pretty much hated. This is something Kasich knew, so he made sure Earl did not get on the ballot.

John Kasich was so scared of Charlie Earl that he spent $600,000 just to keep his name off the ballot. Using rare legal maneuvers and a pretend Libertarian, Greg Felsoci, paid to act against Earl by the Ohio Republican Party, Kasich’s team kept themselves in a government created political monopoly. Last year, federal judge Michael Watson stated about the case, “To state the obvious, Felsoci’s testimony, as well as the other evidence in the record, supports an inference that operatives or supporters of the Ohio Republican Party orchestrated the protest that Felsoci signed.” To make sure such a stunt never happens again, Kasich then passed a highly unconstitutional ballot restricting third party ballot access.

If Kasich had not spent $600,000 to keep Charlie Earl off the ballot, chances are high that our nation would have its first Libertarian elected governor right now. Conservatives and Tea Partiers would have gathered with Libertarians to form the largest grassroots we’ve seen since Ron Paul’s 2012 race. Those grassroots could have made a major difference with low voter turnout to drive out those in favor of Earl.

A tipping point would eventually have come when Republicans would have seen Earl’s limited government message being superior to Kasich’s Obama-lite rhetoric. The race may have been close, but I am sure Charlie Earl would have won if he was not pushed off the ballot. Though Kasich would probably still be in the presidential race and probably with the same chances since you can’t subtract from what’s not there.

A few days ago John Kasich announced his already failed bid for Vice President of the United States. Within half a day his name was not trending on Twitter, he was not mentioned in a Politico article until the eighth article down discussing worst campaign logos, and I only knew about it because I’m from Ohio. Polls in New Hampshire show Kasich tied for third place which is about his only good news. Problem for him is that good news costs $3 million dollars in television advertising, a cost he will not be able to keep up month to month.

To end, let me just say Kasich is just as bad a candidate as he has been governor of Ohio, and unfortunately for him, he cannot make it illegal for his competitors to run against him in this race. Kasich stands zero chance, and if he was held to the books with Ohio’s election law, he wouldn’t be governor right now.

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