COLUMBUS — The potential Democratic field to take on Republican Gov. John Kasich next year narrowed further today when Youngstown area Congressman Tim Ryan took himself out of contention.
That leaves Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who early this week formed a gubernatorial exploratory committee that allows him to begin raising money even before he formally announces his candidacy.
Other names still in the mix are former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray, depending on how his bid to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate as President Obama’s top consumer watchdog fares, and former Akron area U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton.
Former Gov. Ted Strickland, whom Mr. Kasich defeated in 2010, bowed out in January.
Mr. Ryan said northeastern Ohio would be better served by him staying put in Congress.
“Although the region has seen a tremendous turnaround, we are still at the early stages of our revitalization with too many people who have yet to share in that recent success,” he said in a media statement. “I recognize that I am in a unique position to help create opportunities for these people. I also wish to continue the work I am doing with our active duty troops and veterans, especially those who carry so much of the trauma of war and suffer from post-traumatic stress.”
Early polls have suggested that, among those still considered contenders, Mr. Cordray had the best name recognition among Ohio’s registered voters. But even his name recognition was low.
Meanwhile, the same polls have shown that Mr. Kasich’s own approval among voters gradually improving after hitting bottom in 2011 amid the fight over public employee collective bargaining rights in the state.