The Libertarian Party may have regained minor party status in Ohio, but its candidate for the 12th congressional district won't be appearing on the ballot.
Matthew Brendan O’Connor planned to run as a Libertarian candidate in November’s general election, a move that may have drawn votes away from Democrat Danny O’Connor. But he failed to submit the required number of petition signatures, after Franklin County Board of Elections ruled one signature invalid.
The Libertarian did not run in Tuesday’s special election, which pitted the other O’Connor against Republican Troy Balderson in a nationally-scrutinized race. As of Thursday, the contest has yet to be officially called, though Balderson declared victory after election night totals showed him up by just 1,500 votes.
The Libertarian Party of Ohio lost state recognition in 2013 with rules passed by the Republican-dominated legislature. They regained the status after submitting more than 60,000 valid signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Communications director David Jackson says since regaining state recognition, they have candidates for governor, auditor and secretary of state and several statehouse races. And Jackson says they can win some, though they’re not a professional political organization.
“We are a completely volunteer grassroots organization, so we operate on a different wavelength,” he says.
The party also has candidates in four of Ohio’s 16 Congressional districts. To keep the party’s status for the 2020 presidential election, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Travis Irvine needs to win 3 percent of the statewide vote in November.