CLEVELAND -- State Representative Armond Budish will make an announcement Thursday. He's expected to declare his candidacy to be Cuyahoga County Executive.
And the man he wants to replace, County Executive Ed FitzGerald, is expected to stand by him, offering a ringing endorsement.
Budish is a longtime state representative from Beachwood.
He's known as a prolific fundraiser.
But he's done little to tout his legislative accomplishments of helping various projects and initiatives get funding.
And many voters on the West Side of the county know little about him.
He recently announced he's stepping down from his position as Minority Leader in the Ohio House.
Some have suggested it's not appropriate for FitzGerald to endorse his possible successor.
A newspaper editorial argued it smacked of the backroom politics and inside deals that were the hallmark of corrupt officials in the previous county government voters replaced.
FitzGerald told WKYC's Tom Beres, "I don't think there's anything wrong with endorsing people to take your place. If I didn't think there was a qualifed successor to me as county executive, I wouldn't be running for Governor. I'm quite pleased what's been done at the county and I'm going to be opinionated about the candidates that will be consistent with reform and those I don't think are consistent and might take us backward."
FitzGerald would not confirm he's endorsing Budish, but said he'd be making his announcement soon.
He's expressed his preference for Budish to other political insiders.
The FitzGerald/Budish connection is expected to help both men.
FitzGerald needs help raising $20-$25 million for his Governor's race.
And Budish needs to build recognition among voters on the West Side, including in FitzGerald's home community of Lakewood.
Other announced or possible Democratic candidates included former County Sheriff Bob Reid, Council President C. Ellen Connally, State Senator Shirley Smith and Cleveland School Board member Eric Wobser.