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DeWine, Husted expected to team up in governor's race

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Attorney General Mike DeWine, left, and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

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Two Republican candidates running for governor have reportedly decided to join forces in 2018.

Attorney General Mike DeWine is expected to name Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted as his running mate in the 2018 GOP primary for governor at an event in Dayton on Thursday.

Local Republicans say the move will strengthen the party's ability to win the governor's seat to succeed term-limited Gov. John Kasich.

The DeWine campaign on Wednesday said it will “roll out a special announcement” on Thursday at two events, one at the University of Dayton River Campus in Kettering — which Mr. Husted once represented in the General Assembly — and the other at the Columbus Idea Foundry in Columbus.

Mr. Husted and his campaign team could not be reached for comment. DeWine’s campaign spokesman declined to comment.

The two politicos could make a powerhouse team in what has been a four-person race for the Republican Party nomination.

Mr. Husted, 50, a former University of Dayton football star, grew up in Montpelier in Williams County. Mr. DeWine, 70, was first elected to public office in 1977 when he became Greene County prosecutor.

Also in the GOP race are U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor of Uniontown.

Jon Stainbrook, the Lucas County Republican chairman, said the expected merger will forestall costly infighting among the Republicans.

“This is fantastic news for the Republican ticket for the governor’s race in 2018,” Mr. Stainbrook said. “There would have been a really messy primary come spring that can be avoided if this... turns out to be true.”

Under Mr. Stainbrook, the Lucas County GOP had already endorsed Mr. DeWine.

Mr. Stainbrook speculated that the return to Ohio of Richard Cordray, a former state treasurer and attorney general, as a likely Democratic candidate for governor may have helped motivate the effort at teamwork. Mr. Cordray resigned last week as the first and only director, so far, of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Mark Wagoner, a state Republican committeeman from Ottawa Hills, former state senator, and Husted supporter, also endorsed the teaming up of the candidates, both of whom he said he is close to.

“That is potentially very exciting news. We were blessed during this Republican primary with a lot of great candidates and the more that we can work together the more chance we have of beating the Democrat in the general election,” Mr. Wagoner said.

The news brought an attack from the Renacci campaign.

Spokesman James Slepian said, “this race will come down to a clear choice between liberal Columbus career politicians and a conservative Columbus outsider, Jim Renacci, who will break up the establishment status quo and put Ohio first. And that choice has never been more clear than it is today. “

Information from The Blade news services was used in this report.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com419-724-6058, or on Twitter @TomFTroy.

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