In this election year – as in any campaign cycle – the cliché “so much at stake” is being thrown-around on the airwaves with no concern for overkill or applicability. However, in the case of the Libertarian Party here in Ohio, this phrase actually carries significant meaning when it comes to the March 6 primary.
Due to the uncertain nature of the state’s election laws because of how the Ohio Republican Party has used them to play shameless games with ballot access, growing the count of registered Libertarian voters is more important than ever. It is needed to demonstrate support for the LP in numbers.
Anticipating next month’s primary, I understand many of you are and will be torn when you approach your polling place: do I support the party with the “capital-L” or do I select a GOP ballot to vote for the “small-L,” Ron Paul?
To help you with your sense of dilemma, please allow me to share some of my latest online banter. I was fortunate enough to enjoy an informative exchange with one of Ohio’s most prominent political journalists.
In recent communication with Ohio News Network’s Jim Heath – who cited Ron Paul campaign Press Secretary Gary Howard as his source – it was confirmed (what most of us had already suspected) that Ron Paul is not pursuing a win here in the Buckeye State. “The Paul campaign does have offices open now. However, like Florida, Paul has written off Ohio to concentrate on smaller states. To my knowledge Paul hasn’t even come to Ohio once this year,” Heath’s message to me stated.
Bear in mind that the Ohio GOP bylaws have made this state’s Republican primary a winner-take-all contest in terms of nomination delegates. Alas, Rep. Paul has been polling in the single digits here and is not doing any campaigning or advertising to change that. Without a win (which is regrettable), he will not be able to claim delegates – regardless of his percentages or place behind the winner.
In essence, that means voting for Ron Paul in Ohio is at best symbolic. You will be hard-pressed to find as staunch of an advocate for using your vote to make a statement as me. However, by choosing a Libertarian primary ballot you will have the opportunity to write-in a pair of candidates for federal offices – Chris Kalla for Congress and John Fockler for U.S. Senate – and move them onto the November ballot.
Equally as important: you’re still sending that message to the two broken legacy parties: you no longer will tolerate the status quo in Columbus or Washington.
Giving voters additional options can only have a positive impact on the general election – which you will be able to do via the upcoming primary – all while maintaining a clear conscience, having voted for candidates who align with your principles.
Chair, Allen County Libertarian Party of Ohio