By Julie Carr Smyth
AP Statehouse Correspondent
COLUMBUS: Two Libertarian candidates for statewide office in Ohio have been tossed from the May primary ballot by the state elections chief.
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said Friday he relied on the recommendations of hearing officer Bradley Smith, a former federal elections commissioner.
Ohio Republican Chairman Matthew Borges recently told reporters the party played a role in protests filed against gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl and attorney general candidate Steven Linnabary.
Lawyers challenging Earl told Smith in hearings this week that Democrats helped fund and carry out his signature-gathering effort. Under Ohio law, petition circulators must be neutral or affiliated with a candidates’ party.
Earl stood to draw votes from Republican Gov. John Kasich as the governor faces a likely challenge from Democrat Ed FitzGerald this fall.