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Published: Wednesday, 3/8/2006

Reardon exits race for Ohio auditor

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - Democrats will avoid a primary battle for Ohio auditor as a result of Mahoning County Treasurer John Reardon's decision to drop out of the race.

The announcement came as no surprise. After the Ohio Democratic Party recruited state Rep. Barbara Sykes (D., Akron) for the race, gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland shifted his allegiance from Mr. Reardon to Ms. Sykes.

Mr. Reardon, who'd been running for auditor since June, did not participate in the screening process for the party's endorsement and wasn't present two weeks ago when the party's executive committee gave the nod to Ms. Sykes.

"Unlike Republicans who have unlimited cash supplied by the special interests they serve, it's extremely difficult for Democrats to raise the millions it takes to run statewide," Mr. Reardon said.

"Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in a primary is counterproductive, and would have left our party's nominee at a tremendous disadvantage," he said.

Rep. Mary Taylor (R., Green) is the Republican candidate for the November election.

Part of the deal calls for the state party to retire Mr. Reardon's campaign debt.

As of Dec. 31, the Reardon campaign had nearly $57,000 in outstanding loans.

Party spokesman Brian Rothenberg said the party recently transferred $50,000 to the Reardon campaign.

"[Mr. Reardon] is a gentleman, a team player, and someday will make an excellent statewide elected official," said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern.

Ms. Sykes has acknowledged that one of the reasons she was recruited by the party was the fact that she is black.

She said Democrats could not afford to allow Republicans to appear to have the upper hand in diversity with two blacks on the ticket.



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