Elections in Ohio are traditionally two-party affairs, with the alternative parties putting up candidates for a smattering of races. But has Ohio moved toward having three regular participants in its statewide contests? Two political scientists told Northeast Ohio Media Group this week that the the Libertarian Party of Ohio might become a credible third party because of divisions among Republicans. Libertarians this week filed a full slate of candidates for the partisan statewide contests that are up for election in November. Charlie Earl, a former Republican state representative, and Sherry Clark topped that ticket as candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. The party also put up candidates for auditor of state, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.
Four years ago, in 2010, the Libertarians also ran candidates in all of those races. That was the first time in decades that a third party had fielded such a full slate of candidates.
It remains to be seen whether all of this year’s candidates will get on the ballot. Boards of elections across Ohio will need another week to finish verifying signatures on nominating petitions to determine which candidates actually met the filing requirements. Regardless, says Paul Beck, a political scientist at Ohio State University, the Libertarian Party may well be here to stay as a participant in state elections.