Democratic tickets shaking out in Ohio governor’s race

January 11, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — As former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich prepared to enter the race for Ohio governor and another candidate appeared ready to bow out, the choices for Ohio Democrats this spring began to come into focus.

In less than a week’s time, two Democratic running mates have been announced, ex-congresswoman Betty Sutton ended her gubernatorial bid and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley has scheduled a Friday event where it’s presumed she’ll end hers. Meanwhile, Kucinich has formalized plans to launch a campaign next week.

Whaley’s departure would leave just one woman vying for the Democratic nomination in a race that started as an all-female showdown. Former federal consumer chief Richard Cordray and Sutton merged their efforts Wednesday, with Sutton carrying on as Cordray’s running mate.

Connie Pillich, a former Cincinnati-area state representative, plans to remain in the race and fight on through the May 7 primary, said campaign manager Eric Goldman.

The two remaining Democratic contenders — Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, of Boardman — now have running mates in place and both said they plan to stay in what would be a five-way primary. The last wild card is who Kucinich and Pillich pick as their running mates.

The 71-year-old Kucinich, a former Cleveland mayor and two-time presidential candidate, adds a nationally known name to a field many Democrats view as being led by Cordray. Before serving as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under both Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican President Donald Trump, Cordray was a state treasurer and state attorney general.

On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci dropped his bid for governor on Thursday to seek the U.S. Senate nomination. That leaves Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor seeking the GOP nod for the chance to succeed Republican Gov. John Kasich, who’s term-limited.

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