COLUMBUS — The Cleveland-based, expected Democratic choice to do battle with Gov. John Kasich next year has selected a state senator from the opposite corner of the state as his running mate.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has picked Sen. Eric Kearney, the Democratic leader in the Republican-controlled Senate, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern confirmed today.
Mr. FitzGerald is expected to present Mr. Kearney during a campaign rollout tour that would bring him to Toledo on Thursday.
Mr. Kearney adds both geographic and racial balance to the ticket. Mr. FitzGerald is a former mayor of the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood while Mr. Kearney is from Cincinnati. The top of the ticket is white. Mr. Kearney is African American.
Mr. Kearney, an often bow-tied attorney and friend of President Obama, is known as a thoughtful, analytical debater. He’s been known during Senate debate to walk to the front of the chamber to select law books to cite specific sections of state law when making his arguments.
“At the end, it comes down to a dynamic ticket that is going to be able to take the message across the state at a time when John Kasich has irrevocably harmed the state’s economy, slashed funding for schools, and rewarded his cronies, ” Mr. Redfern said. “Ed FitzGerald and Eric Kearney add fresh perspective.”
His name had previously come up as potential contender for statewide office next year because he is barred by term limits from seeking another term in the Senate.
Others reportedly considered for the number-two spot were House Minority Leader Tracy Heard, of Columbus; Rep. Debbie Phillips, of Athens, Sen. Lou Gentile of Steubenville, and Columbus City Councilman Zach Klein.
“(Mr. Kearney is) a thoughtful leader in the state Senate who has been praised by Democrats and Republicans for his ability to bring people together,” Mr. Redfern said. “One of his legislative accomplishments was cosponsored by the then Senate President Tom Niehaus to reform the state pension systems. Ed and Eric make a dynamic team, and they appreciate each other’s abilities and skills.”
The Republican governor will run again next year with Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who doubles as the state’s insurance commissioner.