U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) rallied local Democratic supporters in support of fellow Democrat Ed FitzGerald for governor.
Mr. Brown’s endorsement of Mr. FitzGerald today in Toledo was not unexpected and it appeared aimed at building momentum for the Cuyahoga County executive's race against Republican Gov. John Kasich.
About 70 people, many wearing jackets emblazoned with labor union labels, jammed into Michael’s Restaurant downtown for the endorsement.
“I've known Ed a long time, and I even had the pleasure of swearing him in as mayor of Lakewood in 2008,” Mr. Brown said, after initially saying “city of Toledo.” He cited Mr. FitzGerald’s public service including work as a special agent for the FBI and mayor of the Cuyahoga County city of Lakewood, before being elected in 2010 as Cuyahoga County’s first elected executive.
Senator Brown said the Republicans are implementing a “national playbook” with attacks on women’s rights, workers’ rights, and voter rights.
“You know they’ll go after prevailing wage, right-to-work, the middle class standard of living,” Mr. Brown said.
Mr. FitzGerald attacked Mr. Kasich’s administration as one created for “a small group of friends,” saying the GOP has raided education and local government funds, and reduced eligibility for the homestead exemption in property taxes to pay for tax cuts for “the richest people in the state.”
He said that as county executive, “you have to have a governor that works with you in a partnership instead of raiding local funds.”
A poll paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party and released Tuesday showed Mr. FitzGerald and Mr. Kasich tied at 41 percent each. Libertarian Charlie Earl garnered 6 percent of the response. The poll was conducted among 596 Ohio registered voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Republicans have hammered Mr. FitzGerald on Cuyahoga County’s bond rating being downgraded last month.
"Ed FitzGerald's fiscal and economic mismanagement is coming to light and it is similar to the state Democrats who presided over the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs four years ago," Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges said.
Mr. FitzGerald said the downgrading was due to the county’s loss of population from 2000 to 2010 and said the report from Standard & Poor’s complimented the county on excellent fiscal management.