Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune said this evening he has decided against running for the Democratic nomination for Ohio governor.
Mr. Portune made his announcement in an email to The Blade and others.
He previously had identified Toledo City Councilman Jack Ford, a former Toledo mayor and former minority leader of the Ohio House of Representatives, as his preferred running mate.
Mr. Portune's decision to end his candidacy appears to leave the field entirely to Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who already had a huge advantage in fund-raising and in endorsements from the Ohio Democratic Party. The filing deadline is Wednesday to appear on the May 6 primary ballot. The Democratic nominee is expected to face Gov. John Kasich, the Republican incumbent, in the November general election.
Mr. Portune said he visited more than 38 Ohio counties during the past 45 days meeting with voters, elected officials and leaders of organizations traditionally associated with the Democratic Party "to assess their interest in supporting a choice for governor in the Democratic Primary, but that he and Mr. Ford were unable to carry their joint effort any further."
Mr. Portune said that he "offered his ongoing pledge to help bring the kinds of creative, best practice solutions to the state's problems that are being developed at the local level all over Ohio and that he and Ford were committed toward doing in a gubernatorial bid.
"It is at the local level where government is not only working across party lines, but it is at the local level where government has to work. Jack Ford and I both understand that local governments cannot pass the buck. We have to find solutions, across party lines within our means," Mr. Portune said in his email. "While we have concluded that we are unable to meet our goals for the state through the means of a gubernatorial race, we both look forward to continuing in our efforts to work for the betterment of the Ohio Democratic Party and for the State of Ohio in other ways than as candidates for statewide office."
Mr. Ford could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mr. Portune said he offered his thanks to "the many people around the state who took the time to lend their support; meet with him; to offer their views and to share their concerns."
Mr. Portune, 55, a lawyer, has been on his county's board of commissioners since 2000. Before that he was a Cincinnati city councilman.
Contact Tom Troy: email@example.com or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.