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Published: Wednesday, 5/4/2005

Brown won't run for Ohio governor

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown will not seek the Democratic nomination for Ohio governor in 2006, announcing instead yesterday that he will run for re-election to his current job.

"I love what I'm doing in Congress," the Lorain resident said.

"I get up every morning and fight for what I care about - education, health care, jobs issues, against bad trade agreements, important issues for Ohio," Mr. Brown said.

"When I think about the governor's race, I realize that the issues I care most about and work hardest on are issues that are national, federal issues," he said.

The announcement leaves Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, a Toledo native, as the only declared candidate for the Democratic nomination.

Meanwhile, Republicans are expected to bloody one another in a free-for-all involving Attorney General Jim Petro, Auditor Betty Montgomery, and Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.

"This doesn't surprise me at all," said John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron.

"Sherrod Brown has considerable influence on the Democrat side of Congress," Mr. Green said. "If Democrats were to take control [of the House], which given the small margin is certainly possible, he might chair a major committee or certainly a major subcommittee."

Mr. Brown was Ohio secretary of state from 1983 to 1991.

"The fact that I'm not running for governor doesn't mean I'm not going to be politically engaged," Mr. Brown said. "We have the most inept, corrupt, incompetent governor in the state we've ever had, at least in my 52 years."

Time was running out for Mr. Brown to make a decision if he were going to try to challenge Mr. Coleman, who formally launched his campaign three months ago.

"Michael has always believed we are going to have a primary," said Coleman spokesman Dan Trevas. "He's not basing his campaign on anybody else's campaign."

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Denny White said he believes there's a possibility that Lee Fisher, a former attorney general who lost a close battle to Gov. Bob Taft in 1998, would try again.

"The more Democrats that step up to the plate, the better we're going to be," he said.

Mr. White said he has heard little about a possible run from controversial television talk show host Jerry Springer, a former Cincinnati mayor and darling of the county Democratic chicken dinner circuit.

Contact Jim Provance at:

jprovance@theblade.com,

or 614-221-0496.



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