COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court denied the Libertarian Party of Ohio its chance to get a gubernatorial candidate on the primary ballot on the eve of Tuesday’s election.
Ohio’s elections chief disqualified that candidate, Charlie Earl, in March after his nominating petitions were challenged. Secretary of State Jon Husted agreed with a hearing officer who found that two Earl petitioners failed to properly disclose their employers.
Libertarians sued, arguing Husted’s decision was unconstitutional and conflicted with prior rulings of the office.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a lower court’s decision last Thursday, determining that Libertarians’ slim chances of a successful First Amendment challenge to Husted’s decision should bar the party from proceeding.
The party took that decision to the nation’s high court.
Justice Elena Kagan denied the party’s request last week to block the federal court’s decision keeping Earl off Tuesday’s ballots. The party then refiled it with Justice Clarence Thomas who referred it to the full court, which rejected it on Monday.
Mark Brown, the party’s attorney, said the ruling also keeps attorney general candidate Steven Linnabary from the primary ballot.
Brown said in an email that he plans to ask the full appeals court in Cincinnati to rehear the matter. If the court grants the request for an “en banc” rehearing, he said there’s a chance the candidates could be restored to the general election ballot in November because both primaries were uncontested.
Earl’s candidacy has the potential to draw votes from Republican Gov. John Kasich this fall. The incumbent governor will likely face Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive.