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Published: Tuesday, 11/4/2008

Cordray wins Ohio AG contest

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS -- Voters didn't hold the scandals of Marc Dann against his fellow Democrats as last night's unofficial tally showed them overwhelmingly choosing Democratic state Treasurer Richard Cordray as Ohio's next attorney general attorney.

With 42.9 percent of the vote reporting, Mr. Cordray had captured 55.3 percent to Republican former federal prosecutor Mike Crites' 39.9 percent. Delaware attorney Robert Owens, running as an independent, barely registered with 4.8 percent.

"We're going to have a culture of respect," said Mr. Cordray at last night Ohio Democratic Party celebration.

"I don't think that's much different from what we've had under (appointed Attorney General) Nancy Rogers. We're going to focus on the financial security issues for Ohioans, protecting consumers, taking on the mess on Wall Street, and trying to work with other attorney generals to hold people to account."

Mr. Dann was pressured into resigning in May amid threats of impeachment just 16 months into his term in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal in the attorney general’s office. This at first appeared to provide an unexpected opportunity for the GOP to reclaim the office, but the party had trouble finding a high-profile candidate.

Mr. Crites entered the game late, and his campaign never really gained traction against a state treasurer that already had $500,000 in his campaign war chest by that time.

"This was my first statewide race," said Mr. Crites. "I was grossly underfunded. For Mr. Cordray, this was the eighth race in 18 years. This was his fourth time on the statewide ballot. We knew it would be an uphill battle, but we hoped to raise sufficient funds to get our message out."

Gov. Ted Strickland appointed Ms. Rogers, on leave as dean of Ohio State University’s law school, to replace Mr. Dann for six months while investigations into Mr. Dann’s administration continued.

Mr. Cordray, 49, of Grove City, will replace her and complete the roughly two years left in Mr. Dann's four-year term.

He has already said he will stand for re-election in 2010.

Contact Jim Provance at:

jprovance@theblade.com

or 614-221-0496.



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