Dan Phillip asked election officials to reconsider; they voted again to deny him ballot spot

  Congressional hopeful Dan Phillip had the last word — but he still won’t be on the ballot this fall.

The Ashland resident wanted to run as an independent for U.S. Congress 7th District, an area comprised of all or portions of 10 counties, including the bulk of Stark.

However, last month the Stark County Board of Elections disqualified him from running as an independent. The decision, in part, was based on the fact Phillip voted in the Republican primary on May 6, a day after he’d filed paperwork to run as an independent.

Phillip asked the board to reconsider.

On Thursday, he appeared at a hearing to plead his case.

“The issue is two words, good faith,” he told them.

Phillip explained that during the past 18 months he’s identified himself as an independent on campaign finance reports and in door-to-door visits within the district. He also referenced four separate court cases that he said backed up his position.

“I’ve never held a Republican office in my lifetime,” he said. “I’ve never run for a Republican office in my lifetime.”

Board members pointed out Phillip regularly voted in GOP primaries since at least 2001. They also cited a 2007 advisory opinion from then-Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, which reads in part: “If an independent candidate votes in a party primary election after filing as an independent, the candidate is not actually unaffiliated, and the candidate’s claim of independence was either not made in good faith or is no longer current.”

The Board voted to reconsider its decision, then promptly voted again to not allow Phillip on the Nov. 5 ballot, leaving Republican incumbent Bob Gibbs as the lone candidate. Phillip’s only recourse would be a lawsuit. He said he’s not sure if he’ll pursue that.

He addressed the board one final time.

Phillip told them the American people have lost faith in the political system and that their decision affirmed that. He told them they were wrong. He told them all they did was limit freedom.

“You still have to look at yourself in the mirror ... I hope you can live with yourself,” he said.

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