The Democratic candidate is Sharon Sweda. On the Republican side is Nathan Manning, the son of current Sen. Gayle Manning, who is term limited.
“I’m not running against anybody. Maybe they’re running against me,” Taft said, showing off his sly sense of humor. “They (the Mannings) are trying to swap and have Nathan take her seat and she’s taking his state rep. seat.”
When asked why he is the best candidate, Taft said he hopes people will “consider the Libertarian point of view.”
“I hope they consider us because we offer superior answers to them,” added the distant relative of President William Howard Taft.
Homer Taft said he wants to “completely change the rather Byzantine election law and campaign law that we have that is meant to keep people from voting and suppress people from running.” He sees the current system as a way to keep “corporate Democrat and Republican in power” and said the negative, often inaccurate, campaigning keeps people from voting “because it’s odious.”
“I hope that we are bringing them a positive message that we believe in them and want to empower them,” Taft said, referring to the Libertarian party.
He also wants to cut spending, taxes and regulation, especially at the state level.
“We want to bring a lot more back to the local level,” he added.
Taft lived in Bay Village before moving to Vermilion. He retired as the president and CEO of “a small manufacturing company,” Dependable Chemical.
“By trade I am an attorney and I’m still not fully retired from that. My principle client at this point is the gentleman who owned Dependable Chemical. I acquired a bit of property for him, so I’m still in charge of his property, in charge of a couple things myself and I do a little volunteer work,” said Taft, who initiated the infamous Sandusky-area “Lakefront Lawsuit” and was one of the intervening plaintiffs.
This election isn’t his first venture into politics. Taft was on the central and executive committees for the Republican party in Cuyahoga County until the early 1990s.
“I ran in a primary in 1974 as a Republican for state representative against Jim Betts. I ran in 1980 in a Republican primary against some guy named Jim Petro with whom I have become friends,” Taft said with a twinkle in his eye.
“I also ran as a Republican nominee for Congress in 1978,” he added. “They were successful in the sense that I got to talk a lot about ideas and policies; they weren’t successful in getting me elected.”
Taft is on the state Libertarian executive committee and is the state finance officer for the party.
“As I put it, I did not leave the Republican party; starting in the 1990s, the Republican party progressively left me,” said Taft, who believes in “small government” and the philosophy of “leave people alone.”
“(I’m) not what you’d call a radical social conservative, I guess, who wants to tell everybody what to do,” he added. “The (Republican) party was getting more big government and more and more, telling people what to do. The Democrats were going the other way and telling people what to do and what we’re going to get and that’s not where I am.
“I always considered myself a small-L Libertarian and it was time to become a big-L Libertarian,” Taft said.
The Libertarian candidate touted Travis Irvine, whom he said is “offering a far more positive message than the other candidates” for governor. Mike DeWine, a Democrat, is running against Richard Cordray, a Republican.
“Robert Coogan, our candidate for state auditor, is hands down the most qualified, having supervised audit and accounting as (vice president) at Cincinnati Bell for a 30-year career, followed by 10 years in health-care grant auditing supervision. He is a CPA,” Taft said.
Dustin Nanna is the Libertarian candidate for secretary of state.
“Their election would completely change the gerrymander gamesmanship due after the 2020 census,” Taft said.