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Gary Johnson will appear on Ohio's presidential ballot

by MARC KOVAC | CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF Published: August 24, 2016 3:11 PM

Columbus -- Libertarian Gary Johnson's name will appear on Ohio's presidential ballot, though not with his party affiliation.

The former New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential candidate instead was one of two candidates certified by the secretary of state's office as independent candidates for the November general election.

Johnson and presidential hopeful Richard Duncan both submitted enough verifiable voter signatures to state elections officials by the deadline earlier this month to qualify for the ballot, the secretary of state's office announced Aug. 24.

Two other independent candidates (Darrell Castle and Michael Steinberg) did not submit enough valid signatures to be certified.

Technically, the Libertarians' petitions named former gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl as their pick, though the party subsequently submitted paperwork to withdraw Earl and replace him with Johnson.

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Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted last week indicated that he would allow the change, pending validation of petition signatures, though he said state law was unclear on changing names of independent candidates.

"The LPO would also like to acknowledge the professionalism and fairness demonstrated by Secretary of State Jon Husted and his staff," Bob Bridges, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Ohio's executive committee, said in a released statement."We never had any doubt that we had collected enough good signatures, and the secretary's office did all that we could have asked in getting the signatures approved in a timely manner. This is the level of performance we have come to expect from Mr. Husted and his people."

He added, "Ohio Libertarians will go into overdrive to get Johnson-Weld before the voters and win their support," Bridges said. "The LPO is also looking towards continuing our efforts through petitioning and through the courts to get the entire party back on the ballot by the 2018 elections. We're determined to be a part of the political discourse in Ohio for the long run."

With the Aug. 24 announcement, five presidential candidates have secured spots on Ohio's November ballot.

Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton and the Green Party's Jill Stein will have their party affiliations listed with their names.

Three others have submitted paperwork to run as write-in candidates -- Michael Bickelmeyer, Ben Hartnell and Douglas Thomson. Review of their petition signatures will be completed before the end of the month.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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