COLUMBUS — It looks increasingly likely that Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald will mount a campaign to challenge Republican Gov. John Kasich next year.
The Democrat today announced the creation of an exploratory committee for a possible gubernatorial run.
“I believe Ohio has been let down by its leaders, especially a political establishment in state government who stopped listening to the people,” Mr. FitzGerald said. “They’re more interested in scoring partisan points or taking care of the insiders than focusing on what’s best for the middle class.”
The move allows the former FBI special agent, assistant county prosecutor, and Lakewood mayor to begin raising funds for a possible run. Other names mentioned as potential contenders for the Democratic nomination in 2013 are Richard Cordray, former Ohio attorney general and currently President Obama’s top consumer watchdog in Washington; U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan from the Youngstown area; and former Akron area congressman Betty Sutton.
Mr. FitzGerald has been acting a lot like a candidate, speaking at county Democratic dinners across the state and even issuing a video response to Mr. Kasich’s GOP convention speech last summer. He’s hoping that will help to change his low name recognition among voters reflected in polls.
“Do we really have to settle for a state government that robs our communities, forcing cuts to police, firefighters and teachers?” he asked. “Is something better possible? Do we really have to settle for a governor who wants new taxes on everyday Ohioans while giving big tax breaks for those at the top? Or is something better possible? I think something better is possible.”
A recent Quinnipiac Poll shows that Mr. Kasich’s own re-election chances are improving. The poll showed that a highest-yet 53 percent of Ohio’s registered voters approve of his performance compared to 32 percent that do not.