Randy Ludlow The Columbus Dispatch

Sep 2, 2018 at 9:22 PM Sep 2, 2018 at 9:34 PM

They‘re rebels with a cause, an alternative choice to the monolithic Democrats and Republicans.

The minor-party candidates for governor, Constance Gadell-Newton of the Green Party and Travis Irvine of the Libertarian Party, are not much of a threat to win come Nov. 6.

Instead, their candidacies are about promoting their parties‘ brands and building support so that, perhaps someday, one of their candidates will be a threat to the likes of Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine.

Here‘s a look at those two other candidates who will appear on Ohioans‘ gubernatorial ballots this fall.

Gadell-Newton, 38, a Columbus lawyer who specializes in juvenile guardianship cases and adult criminal defense, long has considered herself “left leaning,” casting her first presidential vote in 2000 for the Green Party‘s Ralph Nader. She received a bachelor‘s degree in philosophy from Ohio State University and her law degree from Penn State Dickinson Law.

She embraces the Green Party philosophy of a nonviolent, more-humanist breed of politics, one that supports Medicare for all and marijuana decriminalization and that opposes the death penalty, U.S. military interventions and corporate pillaging of the environment in the name of profit.

Closer to home in Ohio, she says long-suffering local governments should receive better state funding, and she contends that the property-tax-based method of funding Ohio schools remains unconstitutional. She says K-12 education must become a funding priority in state budgets, potentially by revisiting “tax giveaways” and requiring businesses to “pay their fair share.”

Ohio relies on “mass incarceration” based in part on racial profiling of minorities, so criminal-justice reforms should focus on diverting minor violators of the law from prison, Gadell-Newton said. “We want to see drug addiction treated as a health-care matter rather than a criminal matter,” she said.

Asked about her hope of winning election, Gadell-Newton remarked: “I think we‘re pretty realistic about the possibilities. There are multiple goals insofar as building our party. We do believe a Green Party candidate will win in the future.”

“I see a political climate where people are really frustrated with the status quo,” she added. “A lot of people are looking for something new. They feel they are not being represented by their politicians, who have sold out to the corporate interests.”

Job one for Gadell-Newton on Nov. 6 is to capture more than 3 percent of the vote to ensure that the Green Party remains a recognized minor party in Ohio. Presidential candidate Jill Stein (0.84 percent) failed to top that mark in 2016, so it‘s on Gadell-Newton‘s shoulders. The party‘s candidate for governor in 2014, Anita Rios, received 3.3 percent of the vote. If minor-party status is lost, regaining it would require collecting about 55,000 valid voter signatures, a process that the Libertarians had to undertake earlier this year.

Gadell-Newton‘s lieutenant governor running-mate is Brett Joseph, an agriculture lawyer and sustainable-agriculture professor at Lorain Community College.

The Libertarian Party, with Irvine, is back in the governor‘s race after its 2014 nominee, Charlie Earl, did not make the ballot because of nominating-petition flaws.

Irvine, 35, a filmmaker and freelance journalist, is a native of Bexley (where the high school valedictorian ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2007). He also tried but failed to unseat Republican Pat Tiberi in Ohio‘s 12th U.S. House District in 2010. He holds a bachelor‘s degree in communication from Ohio University and a master‘s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Libertarians abhor government overreach and regulation and stress individual rights and liberties. Summing up the party‘s philosophy, Irvine said: “We embrace personal freedom, letting people do what they want with their own bodies and in their own homes as long as they are not hurting anyone.”

Irvine and the party, for example, support the legalization of marijuana (which they contend would help wean people from opioid addiction) and oppose restrictions on firearms, including concealed carry. Libertarians also want a return to gold and silver as legal tender rather than government-backed paper money.

Irvine supports the passage of Issue 1 to reduce low-level drug-possession felonies to misdemeanors carrying no jail or prison time. He agrees that too many people are routed to prisons when local treatment programs are more effective.

The party platform calls for eliminating the state income tax and property taxes and reducing fees and other taxes, including sales taxes. What would be left to operate state government and all its services?

Irvine said strategic cuts in state spending, the legalization of marijuana to generate taxes, and reducing regulations to allow companies to flourish and generate more business taxes would help operate the state.

School funding also needs to be reformed to improve public education, he said.

Irvine, unlike Gadell-Newton, said he has a shot to win the governor‘s office. “I think we have a winning message. … I think if we raise enough money to get our message out there, we can absolutely win.”

Todd Grayson, co-owner of a rubber-tubing manufacturer and a former Perrysburg City Council member, is Irvine‘s running mate.

Bob Coogan, a retired accountant and auditor from the Cincinnati area, is the Libertarians‘ candidate for state auditor, while Dustin Nanna of Delaware, a personal-care aide for developmentally disabled people, is running for secretary of state.

The Green Party has no other statewide candidates.

 

rludlow