Columbus: Strickland exit clears way for FitzGerald, others

4:11 PM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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COLUMBUS -- Ted Strickland's decision not to  seek re-election as governor now sets the stage for Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald to make a possible announcement  he will challenge Governor John Kasich in 2014.

FitzGerald has been interviewing prospective campaign staffers.

He's been crisscrossing the state for months to make his name and face more familiar.

He told Tom Beres, "Now somebody has to step up and do it and I'll make a decision whether that person might be me sometime early this year."

There are a lot of factors involved.

"It's a complicated decision, not something you do in a flip way. You've got to think it through and have the assurance you can take on an incumbent governor. That's a very big task. I've never run statewide before. I have to have conversations across the state to see if it's viable for me. There's family considerations and how the county is doing to see if it's stable enough for me to do something," he said. 

Recent polls show Governor Kasich's favorable ratings increasing.

However,  one found only 36 percent of Ohioans think he deserves to be reelected.

FitzGerald and any candidate who runs should expect to have to raise about $25 million to mount the needed campaign.

And FitzGerald's name is still not widely known around the state. He would have to explain to most voters what a county executive is.

And he can expect to receive criticism that he is running before completing his first term as county executive when the job still should require his undivided attention.

FitzGerald he would be different from Josh  Mandel, the Republican State Treasurer who pledged to serve a full term and almost immediately began running for a Senate job that would have broken that promise.

FitzGerald said, " I will finish my term," regardless of whether he seeks reelection or runs for governor.

Other Democrats mentioned as possible candidates include Congressman Tim Ryan, former Congresswoman Betty Sutton and Richard Cordray, who heads the Federal Consumer Protection Agency.

Democrats want to avoid a costly primary that would drain energy and resources from their campaign against Kasich.

State Party Chairman Chris Redfern said, "Now that Governor Strickland has announced his intentions, strong Democratic officeholders that are prepared to hold this Administration accountable for its anti-worker, anti-woman agenda that has unfairly skyrocketed local taxes can begin earnestly exploring why only 36 percent of Ohioans believe Governor John Kasich deserves to be re-elected."

Word  FitzGerald is running would trigger interest from other candidates who are interested in seeking his job in 2014.


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