Third Party & Independents Archives

As Ohio goes so does the Nation?

My home state has been stated to be the one to watch in regard to Republican versus Democrat by many political experts. There will be much written about Strickland, Blackwell, DeWine and Brown over the next few months. Yet there is something more happening in Ohio.

Today's New York Times has an article that highlights why many feel Ohio is important:

For the Democratic Party, the road back to power in Washington begins here in Ohio. But as long-dominant Ohio Republicans struggle with a corruption scandal, economic distress and rising voter unease, Democrats face a challenge in making the state a launching pad to seize control of Congress and the White House, leaders of both parties say.

The Washington Post has also had several recent articles about politics in Ohio. This article is one of those that highlights the expectation that Ohio will be the battleground state.

While the political pundits discuss the Governor and the Congressional races in Ohio, you'll be given the impression that it is just those candidates. Exciting news such as Ballot Access released will most likely not even be mentioned:

On May 1, the Ohio deadline this year for the independent candidate procedure, the Libertarian and Green Party candidates for Governor each submitted more than twice the required 5,000 signatures. Libertarian Bill Peirce turned in 13,400, and Green Bob Fitrakis turned in 10,900. The Green running for Secretary of State turned in 9,000. Under Ohio election laws, neither is permitted to have his party label on the ballot. Instead, Ohio will only print “other-party nominee” on the November ballot. The Libertarian lawsuit against Ohio’s procedures for new parties, argued in the 6th circuit in early September 2005, is still awaiting a decision.

Bob Fitrakis who some of you might know from his Columbus Dispatch columns under "Fraudbuster Bob" and Bill Peirce won't get the media coverage. They won't get big political guns to come in to help them win an election. Heck they'll be lucky if they are even allowed to be listed by their real party designation and participate in a debate. The media will make this just about the Two Party people not the Independent candidates. I haven't had the opportunity to learn a lot about Bob Fitrakis, but Bill Peirce participated in a Meet the Bloggers event so I was able to both read the transcript and download the podcasts for that interview.

Why is this important? Beyond trying to promote third party candidates, most of these political pundits don't seem to grasp an understanding of Ohio's political climate. Yes people really do not like Taft and they are not happy with the current Republican majority State government. Yes John Kerry almost won Ohio and he did win my County. Ohio does have a larger number of those who register as Democrats than they do Republicans. Close to eight million out of Ohio's 11 million residents are registered to vote; 1,344,124 list themselves as Democrats, 1,093,819 list themselves as Republicans.

It's evident that a majority of Ohio voters not only don't participate in primaries but also don't want to list themselves as being one of either main Party. Ohio is a divided state. While there may be parts of Ohio like Cuyahoga County as one example, are more "Liberal" in make up that's not true across the State. The area around Cuyahoga is where Sherrod Brown is from and was successful as a member of the House. In the 2004 Presidential campaign John Kerry won with very high numbers in Cuyahoga County as well as having the largest number of voters for one County. The more Southern parts of Ohio tend to have stronger Republican numbers and my Northwestern Ohio, which includes Lucas County may have more Democrats but they are more moderate Democrats. As one example, in 2004 State Issue One which was the Constitutional Amendment to state marriage is between a man and a woman passed with 61.71% of the vote. Even in the more "Liberal" county of Cuyohoga this amendment passed.

In the Governor's race these two Third Party candidates could have an impact on the final outcome. Ken Blackwell will continue to reach out to his base which includes a great number of those who voted for the Marriage Amendment. Ted Strickland will try to tie Blackwell to Taft. Many disgruntled Petro supporters could turn to Bill Peirce, many Democrats are not happy with the Ohio Democratic Party, the more moderates could turn to Bill Peirce, the more liberal could turn to Bob Fitrakis. In the Senate race the impression that Sherrod Brown is more liberal than the majority of the state could create a win for Mike DeWine. While Sherrod won the primary it appears at first glance to an outsider that this was a respectable win, yet once you take into consideration his primary opponent that selected running as a Democrat because that was how he voted last and promoted the idea of death to homosexuals as well as other extreme ideas? It puts a different meaning on 22% of Democrats selecting him. One can realistically hazzard a guess it wasn't because they supported this man's ideals, they were openly stating they did not support Sherrod Brown. This was without the help of Karl Rove who has been stated is advising Mike DeWine.

Millions of dollars from out of state will pour into Ohio to influence the outcome. The star names from both parties will venture into Ohio to help their party win. It's already becoming not what is best for Ohioans but what is best for both Parties in their quest to take seats. After they leave we who are Ohioans are stuck with the end result, which is why it's important that those of us who live here know there are more than just two candidates for Governor, that we keep demanding that the Third Party candidates be included and given adequate media coverage. It's important that those of you who are not Ohioans to consider lending your support to these third party candidates.

Since so many are watching, there is no better time to demonstrate that not only is it possible for third party candidates to get on the ballot but that we want more of a choice than just D or R. It not only helps Ohio but it helps all of those who are contemplating running for office under a third party discover that they can have an impact.

Posted by Lisa Renee Ward at May 6, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #145967

I have already stated my position that any third party vote is a vote for the GOP and the status quo. There is no doubt that Karl Rove will be funneling money and resources into these spoilers in the hope that the gullible will keep the Republicans in power once again.

Posted by: Aldous at May 6, 2006 11:40 PM
Comment #145984

Excellent read, Lisa. Well done. I absolutlely agree with you about the 3rd party label issue on the ballots. That law was promulgated by a handshake deal between Dem’s. and Rep’s. to squeeze out challengers who might better represent the middle road.

I certainly hope there is a herculean effort in Ohio to register previous non-voters. Previous non-voters have the greatest potential to vote anti-incumbent and anti duopoly party, feeling marginalized as the majority do motivating them to stay home.

But, with an anti-incumbent duopoly party vote to vote for and the swell of anti-incumbent sentiment shouting from the polls, there may never be a better time to reach out and motivate previous non-voters to unite on the anti-incumbent Republocrat wave and make their numbers heard and felt in post election analysis.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 7, 2006 1:23 AM
Comment #145994

Max, I junked your comment with its reference to “idiot Republicans” because, you know, more than a third of Watchblog’s visitors and about a third of WatchBlog’s writers are Republicans and damn fine people too! So I ask you to observe our Critique the Message, Not the Messenger policy, or take your flame baiting somewhere else, because it won’t be tolerated here. This will be the only request of this kind made before revoking comment privileges. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

We don’t have a problem with a person calling Republican or Democratic politicians despicable or ethically unsound, that’s fair game. But, don’t cast aspersions on undefined groups which include our fine readers, visitors, and writers here at WatchBlog, who provide a service enjoyed by more than 80,000 visits per month.

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at May 7, 2006 3:20 AM
Comment #146004

I might’ve missed it, but I didn’t see Ney in the discussion in Ohio. It seems to me that he will be officially indicted just before the Nov elections. This could really toss everything to the wind.

One the one hand, it seems that this would play heavily into the DEMs hands… the corruption is at the heart of what REPs face in this election, and Ney is one of the biggest fish to be caught.

On the other hand, this could be a huge opportunity for a 3rd party candidate - very much like Perot was. He picked up a huge boost in votes by people upset with their own party but would never vote for the opposing party. I guess it all depends on whether the 3rd party candidate is moderate.

Also, this election seems to be of HUGE importance to the REP party. If they were to loose both houses, Bush would most certainly fill his remaining 2 years in office on the defensive. (Not that I would at all be bothered by this…) I wonder what sort of surprises the REPs will toss into this election? I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Terror Alert Level played with… but I don’t imagine that will be all that shakes things up.

Posted by: tony at May 7, 2006 8:50 AM
Comment #146021

Tony, locally it’s been expressed that Joe Sulzer would have stood a better chance in beating Ney than who won the Democratic Primary, Zach Space. Now did Zach win because he was not a politician? That could very well be likely, we witnessed that here in my own County where the Democratic Candidate for Commissioner who won was the only one who had not served in office before. The downside is Zach is going to be hardpressed to raise enough money to beat Ney. Ney beat his Republican primary opponent with 68.38% of the vote. It’s been stated that Ney is going to continue to run even if he is indicted. Zach has a tough campaign ahead of him. Quite a few heavy hitters came out to help campaign for Ney.

There is an obvious group of voters who are tired of the status quo of the career politician, however will more voters join them in Novemeber is going to be the key. As David pointed out, getting out the vote, encouraging those who are registered who haven’t voted as well as encouraging those who are not even registered is going to be crucial.

Yesterday at the Laundromat I continued my public campaign to get people to vote. Most of us there are regulars and have started to pay more attention to politics because I talk about it. Four out of ten who hadn’t voted in a primary before did, now to get those ten to vote in the General and to get their friends and family….The Lisa Renee get the vote out plan dryer by dryer. (lol)

Seriously though that is what it is going to take because these people that don’t normally vote could be seriously affected by this next election. Not just on local issues but on State ones as well. Several really close races here with candidates and issues demonstrated to these people who traditionally don’t vote how important their vote could have been and can be.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at May 7, 2006 12:57 PM
Comment #146037

Lisa -

I def. agree about getting people out to vote. It’s crucial to put people out there who do not follow party lines and are more willing to vote for the person and not the party.

I would also hope that a candidate running while under Federal indictment would loose no matter who he ran against. I mean, Ashcroft lost against a dead guy (but I’m not sure if that proves my point or not…)

Posted by: tony at May 7, 2006 3:24 PM
Comment #146039

I’d like to believe that should be a huge disaqualifyer for winning an election too Tony but unfortunately we are dealing with an electorate that sometimes is not that informed.

That’s an additional part of this whole scenario, not just encourage people to vote but to be informed about their choices. Not necessarily to try to push them into voting “my way” but to at least make sure they are at least basing their vote on facts rather hype or who has the most televsion ads/signs/media.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at May 7, 2006 3:35 PM
Comment #146040

Yes - there’s a large portion of the public that has no idea who people are or what their votes would mean. I have no idea how or if you can change that. Maybe we could have a multiple choice test as part of the voting process. If you fail, your vote still counts for 1 vote. If you pass, your vote counts for 3 votes. Maybe that would put pressure on the politicians to educate rather than obfuscate.

Kind of gets to the purpose behind the electoral college.

Posted by: tony at May 7, 2006 4:03 PM
Comment #146085

A vote for none of the above invalidates the ballot. The only meaningful vote for change in America is the vote cast for the challenger. That vote communicates dissatisfaction with the leadership currently in office. That vote is powerful, when it is cast often enough by voters that it drops incumbent reelection rates from 94% to 75% or below. That kind of statistical drop causes statisticians, politicians, political parties, and the nation as a whole to sit up and take notice.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 7, 2006 11:39 PM
Comment #146097

Once again the main parties have shown their absolute lust for power. By not allowing third party labels on the ballot it guarantees one of them victory in November. And that’s their major goal. That way they’re assured their cu$hy jobs are safe.
Most voters will look at the ballots and see the names of these other candidates. But without a party label they won’t know what they stand for for the most part. So they’ll just check the Republican or Democrat candidate.
Bingo. Business as usual complements of the ill informed voters.

Posted by: Ron Brown at May 8, 2006 12:25 AM
Comment #146098

Which is also the fault of the media, they have the power to highlight these third party candidates and the majority of the time they don’t. If enough people start complaining to the media that they are not hearing about these third party candidates that is a more possible resolution. If more people heard about these candidates and the fact that they are not even listed by party on the Ohio ballot that would increase the chance of voters being informed.

That’s my next plan, creating a group of local people who will contact the various media sources. Letters to the editor for our local papers as well as phone calls.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at May 8, 2006 12:41 AM
Comment #160063


Very insightful commentary regarding the Ohio minor party scene. Well done. I’m perplexed by some the folks like Aldous who have commented.
Conventional wisdom is that minor parties somehow “steal” votes from other candidates. Our studies show that many of our Libertarian voters simply stay home when we aren’t on the ballot. A grad student from Kent proved that states with more official parties on the ballot had an increased turnout on Election Day.

Posted by: Robert Butler at June 21, 2006 3:35 PM
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