The Ohio Republican Party paid $300,000 in legal bills to keep Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Charlie Earl off the Libertarian primary ballot in 2014.
But that’s not what Ohio GOP chair Matt Borges testified in court last year when he denied the GOP funded or played a role in challenging the Libertarians.
An ex-staffer of Republican governor and presidential hopeful John Kasich arranged for the lawsuit, at the time claiming he would fundraise to cover the costs.
Earl’s petition was challenged on the basis that the petition circulators didn’t fill out the blank on the form that asked who was paying them.
The ruling against the LP was a case of changing the rules in the middle of the game. Petitions were accepted in the past without the petitioners’ employer filled in.
Since Earl was kept off of the ballot, the Ohio LP lost its ballot access, and will now have to collect over 30,000 signatures by July 6, 2016, to get back on the ballot for the 2016 election.
The elections commission held a hearing yesterday (5/21) for Earl’s complaint claiming that the legal bills that Casey racked up constituted an illegal “in-kind” contribution to Kasich’s campaign and that Kasich’s campaign should pay a minimum $720,000 fine. The commission ruled 5-2 to dismiss the complaint. Three Republicans, one independent and one Democrat on the commission ruled to dismiss. Two Democrats were in favor of proceeding with the investigation and hearing the case on its merits.
LP Ohio Political Director Tricia Sprankle said the LPO’s attorney, Mark Brown, he did a “fantastic” job on the case. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the Republican’s aggressive efforts to deny Libertarians a place on the ballot next year.
Sprankle remains undeterred with ambitious plans to run Libertarian candidates in 2016.
More on the GOP petition challenge: