A Few More Choices

Published 12:01 am Sunday, April 25, 2010

The May primary 2010 will likely be known as the year of choices. When voters go to the polls next month, they may choose from not one, not two but seven ballots. In previous primaries, voters selected either a Democrat ballot, Republican ballot or an issues-only ballot.

This year, there are four new choices, thanks to an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that allows so-called minor parties to participate in the primary along with the Democrats and Republicans.

“They lobbied to be able to have their own ballot,” Lawrence County Board of Elections Director Cathy Overbeck explained. “We’ve had Libertarians and Socialists on the ballot before but it’s been in the fall, not the primary.”

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Joining the previous lineup this year are ballots for the Constitution Party, Socialist Party, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party.

While some, such as the Libertarian Party, have a nearly full slate of candidates, others are offering candidates for some statewide races but do not have any candidates for local races.

Most Lawrence Countians are familiar with most if not all Democrat and Republican party candidates and platform planks. But some of the alternatives may have them feeling a little green in more ways than one.

The cost of choice

Overbeck said the state is requiring the county to have 25 of each of the minor parties, Green, Socialist and Constitution and Libertarian, at each precinct.

While it will be obviously more expensive to have these four additional ballots in the primary, Overbeck said she did not have firm figures on how much more expensive this primary will be as compared with other years.

Constitution Party

The Lawrence County Constitution Party candidates are Eric W. Deaton for U.S. Senate, and Richard E. Cadle for Sixth District U.S. Congress.

Robert Owens, who is the CP chairman for Ohio, described the Constitution party as one built on the principles of the nation’s founding fathers.

“Limited government, pro-life and pro-Second Amendment,” Owens said.

He said many of the people who are embraced the Tea Party movement may find the Constitution party more closely aligns with their political opinions than the two leading parties. Owens hopes that by being on the May primary, it will spark interest in what his party stands for.

Some recent polls have shown an increase in voter frustration with the Democrats and Republicans, Alternative party candidates are hoping that frustration translates into something tangible: Votes.

Cadle, a retired information technology director from North Jackson, said that frustration was what inspired him to run in the first place.

“It was one year ago that I decided to make a stand for our constitution and country,” Cadle said in an e-mail to The Tribune.

“It was then that I realized I was not alone in my conviction that our elected officials were not listening to me; in fact they were not listening to all of us.

“I no longer believe or trust the two party system to work for us at the state or federal level. That’s why I joined and support the tea party movement and the Constitution Party that puts the constitution first.”

Green Party

The Green Party has candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, Dennis S. Spisak and Anita Rios. There is also a Green candidate for the 89th district house of representative seat, Dennis G. Lambert of Upper Township.

He seeks the seat now held by State Representative Todd Book. There is no telephone number listed for him and there is no telephone number listed among the information at the board of elections office.

The Green party is most associated with the pro-environmental planks in its but does have other concerns as well.

According to the Green party Web site, “The Green Party is composed of grassroots activists, environmentalists, advocates for social justice, nonviolent resisters, and regular citizens who’ve had enough of corporate-dominated politics.

“…Whether the issue is universal health care, corporate globalization, alternative energy, election reform, or decent, living wages for workers, Greens have the courage and independence necessary to take on the powerful corporate interests.”

Libertarian Party

The Libertarian candidates are Ken Matesz for governor, Margaret Ann Leach, lieutenant governor, Marc Allan Feldman, attorney general, L. Michael Howard, state auditor, Charles R. Earl, secretary of state, Matthew P. Cantrell, state treasurer and Martin J. Elsass, sixth district U.S. Congress.

Elsass seeks the seat now held by incumbent Democrat Charlie Wilson, who is on the Democratic ballot.

On its Web site, the Libertarian party describes itself as “the only political party in Ohio dedicated to the principles of smaller, limited government, lower taxes and more personal liberty for the residents of the State of Ohio. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans can make this claim.

“The Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) is the third largest political party in the state. Whether the issue is school choice, economic stimulus, gun rights, or property rights, the LPO will always favor the principles of limited government and maximum personal liberty.”

Elsass, who has been both an unaffiliated voter and a registered Republican, said he became a Libertarian a few years ago, “When I got tired of screaming at my TV. I got tired of being force-fed policies that are not good for the country, not good for Ohio and not good for me personally.” On that list: bank bailouts, which cost him his job with a tour bus company, the so-called cap and trade and the recent health care reform.

“It requires you to have health insurance whether you want it or not,” he said.

Elsass said when no one else was running who espoused his core values, he decided to jump into the ring himself.

Socialist Party

There is one socialist candidate running for statewide office in Ohio in the May primary. Daniel H. Labotz, a schoolteacher from Cincinnati, is seeking the U.S. Senate seat now held by George Voinovich, who is retiring.

According to the party website, “The Socialist Party stands for the abolition of every form of domination and exploitation, whether based on social class, gender, race/ethnicity, age, education, sexual orientation, or other characteristics.

“We are committed to the transformation of capitalism through the creation of a democratic socialist society based on compassion, empathy, and respect as well as the development of new social structures.

“Socialism will establish a new social and economic order in which workers and community members will take responsibility for and control of their interpersonal relationships, their neighborhoods, their local government, and the production and distribution of all goods and services.

“For these reasons we call for social ownership and democratic control of productive resources, for a guarantee to all of the right to participate in societal production, and to a fair share of society’s product, in accordance with individual needs.”

Democratic Party

The Democratic candidates running in the May primary are Ted Strickland, governor, Yvette McGee Brown, lieutenant governor, Richard Cordray, attorney general, David Pepper, state auditor, Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, secretary of state, Kevin L. Boyce, state treasurer, Jennifer Brunner and Lee Fisher, U.S. Senate, Jim Renner and Charlie Wilson, sixth district U.S. Congress, Eric Brown, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice, Mary Jane Trapp, Ohio Supreme Court for the term commencing Jan. 1, 2011,

Ron Hadsell and Mike Crabtree, 89th district state representative, Justin Berry and Doug Malone, county commission, Stephen Dale Burcham as well as various Democratic state and local committee members.

Republican Party

The candidates on the GOP ballot are John Kasich, governor, Mary Taylor, lieutenant governor, Mike Dewine, attorney general, Seth A. Morgan and David Yost, state auditor, Jon Husted and Sandra O’Brien, secretary of state, John Mandel, state treasurer, Rob Portman, U.S. Senate, Donald Allen, Bill Johnson and Richard D. Stobbs, sixth district U.S. Congress, Maureen O’Connor, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice, Judith Ann Lanzinger, Ohio Supreme Court for the term commencing Jan. 1, 2011, Paul E. Pfeifer, Ohio Supreme Court for the term commencing Jan. 2, 2011, Matthew McFarland, Fourth District Ohio Court of Appeals, David T. Daniels and Clyde Evans, 17th district state senate, John Carey, 87th district state representative, Paul Herrell, county commissioner, Jason Stephens, county auditor as well as various state and county Republican central committee members.

Issues only

Those who do not want to affiliate with any of the political parties may choose a ballot that contains only issues. There are two state issues on the ballot.

One would extend the Ohio Third Frontier program that is meant to enhance the research and technology enterprises. The other would allow developers to change the location of a planned Columbus casino.

Coal Grove voters will decide the fate of a one-mil operating levy.