By Lynn Hulsey
Four candidates wanting to run for president as independents in Ohio filed petitions with the Ohio Secretary of State by Wednesday’s deadline, including a man who the Libertarian Party plans to use as a way to get its presidential nominee Gary Johnson on the ballot.
Also notable in the filings was a candidate who was not there. Evan McMullin, a U.S. House Republican Caucus policy analyst and former CIA staffer announced his independent bid on Monday as part of an anti-Donald J. Trump effort.
Petitions to appear on the ballot as independents were filed by:
* Darrell Castle, with running mate Scott Bradley, both of whom are affiliated with the Constitution Party.
* Richard Duncan of Aurora and his running mate, Ricky Johnson of Sharon, Penn.
* Michael Steinberg and running mate “Rocky” Roque De La Fuente, both of whom ran as Democrats in the past.
* The fourth petition was filed by former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl of Bowling Green and running mate Kenneth Moellman from Foster, Ky.
Earl is apparently meant to be a “placeholder” for Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, a spokesman for the Libertarian Party of Ohio told the Associated Press. The party plans to switch out Earl’s name for Johnson’s even though Earl’s name is on the petitions the party turned in on Tuesday. Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, is running with William Weld, a former Massachusetts governor. Both were previously Republicans.
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It’s not clear if switching the names would even be legal and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has not been officially informed that that is the Libertarian Party plan, said Joshua Eck, spokesman.
“Until that time, I cannot comment on a hypothetical situation,” Eck said.
The Libertarian Party has failed to receive enough votes in past major elections or to submit the necessary 30,000 signatures to become an official minor party in Ohio, and so its candidates cannot appear on the ballot under that banner. Currently the state recognizes two major political parties – Democrats and Republicans – and one minor party – the Green Party.
Those three parties will be on the Ohio ballot. The Republican Party ticket is Donald J. Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. The Democratic Party candidates are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her running mate, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. The Green Party candidates are Dr. Jill Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka.
The filing deadline for independents running for all other political offices in Ohio is the day before the primary, but for presidential candidates it is 90 days before the General Election, said Eck. Local boards of election will review the signatures on petitions to see if they are valid and then send that information to Husted’s office. Eck said the job must be done by the Aug. 19.
The independent presidential and vice presidential candidates must submit petitions as a single ticket. They need to have no less than 5,000 valid signatures, including at least 500 signatures from half of the Congressional districts in the state. The candidates must also must provide a list of 18 qualified Ohio electors who will serve as the ticket’s representative in the Electoral College if they win.
Those who qualify as independents can decide how their names appear on the ballot. They can be listed as a non-party candidate, an other party candidate or have nothing listed under their names, Eck said.
By Lynn Hulsey