Candidate to begin race for governor tonight in Tiffin

A candidate for governor of Ohio is to launch his campaign tonight in Tiffin. Charlie Earl – born and raised in our area – plans to kick off his campaign for the Libertarian Party nomination at 6:30 p.m. at Camden Falls Reception and Conference Center.

His entrance into the 2014 gubernatorial race would make it a three-way contest at present. Ed FitzGerald, the first county executive for Cuyahoga County, announced in April he is seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose the Republican incumbent, John Kasich.

But don’t assume Earl’s candidacy will be a spoiler, potentially tipping the race in favor of FitzGerald.

Obviously, Earl is not satisfied with Kasich’s term as Ohio’s chief executive. And, yes, he’s announcing his candidacy, and introducing Sherry Clark as his running mate, during a meeting of the North Central Ohio Conservatives.

But liberals who value constitutional liberty over communalism might find themselves intrigued – even attracted – to what Earl has to say.

There’s another reason not to underestimate the potential of his candidacy.

When he ran as a Libertarian for Ohio secretary of state in 2010, Earl garnered nearly 5 percent of the vote. Republican Jon Husted won with 54 percent; Democratic challenger Maryellen O’Shaughnessy took 41 percent.

But consider an Aug. 16 survey by Public Policy Polling, which found FitzGerald leading Kasich by 38 percent to 35 percent – a gap within the margin of error of 4.2 percent. Those quick with math realize that poll found 27 percent of respondents were undecided.

That’s fertile ground for a former state representative and retired college professor who now lives on a farm near Bowling Green. He’ll begin working that ground tonight.