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Published: Thursday, 1/16/2014

Cleveland mayor backs Democrat for governor who was criticized for disconnect with Ohio blacks


CLEVELAND — A gubernatorial candidate in Ohio who’s been criticized as being disconnected from the black community has won a timely boost with his endorsement from the Cleveland mayor.

Mayor Frank Jackson, who is black, said fellow Democrat Ed FitzGerald restored credibility to Cuyahoga County government after scandals rocked the county.

The two share responsibility for governments in Cleveland. FitzGerald is county executive, yet he went months without Jackson’s public support.

Jackson worked closely with FitzGerald’s rival, Republican Gov. John Kasich, on a high-profile effort to bolster Cleveland’s ailing public schools.

Prospective primary rival Todd Portune, a Hamilton County commissioner, has blistered FitzGerald for an “appalling” lack of commitment to blacks.

FitzGerald picked a black running mate, state Sen. Eric Kearney, but he later withdrew after tax questions.

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