Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, left, and current Gov. John Kasich acknowledge supporters following their debate at the University of Toledo in October, 2010.
COLUMBUS -- Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland said today he will not seek a rematch in 2014 against Republican Gov. John Kasich.
In a statement, the former governor said his administration from 2007 to 2011 was about repositioning Ohio in terms of its economy, renewable energy sources, and basic and higher education while preserving the state’s social services safety net. The economic recovery started in 2010 on his watch, he noted.
“In short, I believe my Administration stood and spoke for the causes that count,” he wrote. “Frances and I will continue to be politically active private citizens. We will continue to stand with working men and women to build a stronger Ohio — and to defeat anti-worker and anti-middle-class legislation that may arise.”
Among those mentioned as potential Democratic gubernatorial contenders in 2014 are Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga County executive; Tim Ryan, the Youngstown area congressman, and Richard Cordray, former Ohio attorney general and currently President Obama’s chief consumer watchdog.
Mr. Strickland, 71, said the decision was a difficult one. After his narrow defeat to Mr. Kasich in November, 2010, he remained on the Democratic frontlines in the 2011 fight against a Republican-passed law restricting public employee collective bargaining rights and as a heavy surrogate for Mr. Obama on the presidential campaign trail. He remained Ohio’s highest profile face at the Democratic National Convention last September as he praised President Obama’s rescue of the auto industry.
“We worked to rebuild our infrastructure with a special effort to make sure the national system for rail transportation included Ohio,” he noted.
Mr. Kasich later turned back federal stimulus dollars that would have funded the transformation of freight track between Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Cleveland for conventional speed passenger service. Mr. Strickland had presented it as the first step in eventually bringing high-speed rail to the state.
“We worked to ensure there were more Ohioans with affordable health care coverage,” he wrote. “We significantly improved our national standing in public education, made sure it did not suffer from deep cuts during the economic crises, and worked to satisfy the (Ohio) Supreme Court’s ruling for equitable funding with a new formula that was less dependent on property taxes.”
That new “evidenced-based model” education formula, which was never funded, was also later shelved in 2011 by Mr. Kasich and the restored Republican majority in the Ohio General Assembly.