'The preaching of the message' is more important than winning, he says.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Bill Peirce, an independent gubernatorial candidate, knows his only chance to win the Nov. 7 election is if "lightning strikes" the two major political party nominees.
Of course, Peirce says that in jest and realizes he doesn't have a prayer of beating Democrat Ted Strickland of Lisbon, the front-runner, or Republican J. Kenneth Blackwell of Cincinnati.
"I know the probabilities," Peirce told The Vindicator on Tuesday.
The most important reason Peirce, of Gates Mills, says he's running is to get out the Libertarian Party message. That message includes cutting government spending, reforming the tax system, and ending what he calls "eminent domain abuse."
"The preaching of the message is more important than winning," Peirce said.
Lost official party status
While Peirce is a Libertarian, the party isn't recognized by the state as an official political party. They lost that official status in 2000 in Ohio when the party's presidential nominee failed to get 5 percent of the statewide vote.
To get that status back, the Libertarians would need to submit a state-approved petition with valid signatures of at least 1 percent of the total voters in the 2004 election, said James Lee, spokesman for the Ohio secretary of state. That 1 percent equals 56,279 voters, he said.
"One goal is to build up the party name and elect Libertarians to local offices, which is more feasible" than winning the gubernatorial race, Peirce added.
Peirce said he isn't impressed with Blackwell or Strickland because the two don't have any new ideas besides the Republican nominee's proposal to lease the Ohio Turnpike. Peirce says the turnpike idea isn't a responsible one.
Peirce, running for political office for the first time, is a professor emeritus of economics from Case Western Reserve University. He has a doctoral degree from Princeton University and a bachelor's degree from Harvard University.