COLUMBUS — Three years ago Libertarian Charles Earl of Bowling Green captured just shy of 5 percent of the vote in his third-party bid for Ohio secretary of state.
But next year he plans to take it up a notch. On Thursday, he launched his 2014 campaign for governor against Republican Gov. John Kasich and the presumed Democratic candidate, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.
Speaking before a gathering of the North Central Ohio Conservatives in Tiffin, Mr. Earl and his running mate, Sherry Clark, planned to present their “vision for Ohio” as an alternative to the two-party system.
Mr. Earl served in the Ohio House as a Republican. He was appointed to the seat representing part of rural northwest Ohio in late 1981 to complete the months left in Mike Oxley’s term when that state representative was elected to Congress. Mr. Earl was later elected to a two-year term of his own.
Although few would give a third-party candidate much chance of winning, it remains to be seen how the presence of Mr. Earl, a former Republican, would affect the race, particularly if the results are as close as they were in 2010 when Mr. Kasich defeated Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.
His candidacy could provide an alternative for some conservative elements of the Republican Party that have balked at Mr. Kasich’s pursuit of Medicaid expansion and his refusal to sign on to an effort to make Ohio a right-to-work state.
The Ohio Libertarian Party recently endorsed the so-called Workplace Freedom Amendment.
It also endorsed other controversial proposed ballot initiatives that would overturn Ohio’s ban on gay marriage and legalize marijuana for medical and industrial uses.