Redfern resists pressure to run for Senate

There's an intriguing job opening in the Ohio Senate next year, but potential candidate Chris Redfern says he's not going to apply.
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

There's an intriguing job opening in the Ohio Senate next year, but potential candidate Chris Redfern says he's not going to apply.

Redfern, a Democratic state representative from Catawba Island Township, says he's resisting calls to run for the District 2 Ohio Senate seat held by Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green. Gardner's term ends in 2008, and he can't run again because of term limits.

Redfern is leaving office because of term limits, too, but he already has a second job as chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

Sen. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, the Senate majority leader, says she wants Redfern to take Gardner's place and give her another Democrat to work with in the Senate.

"Chris Redfern has been a tremendous leader, not only in the House but as chair of our state party," Fedor said. "He has proven to be a tireless advocate and understands the issues in that district. Chris knows what matters most and knows how to achieve success."

Redfern said he appreciates Fedor's warm words and would not rule out any future race. Gov. Ted Strickland has asked him to concentrate next year on running the Ohio Democratic Party and helping a Democrat carry the state in the presidential election.

Redfern said he understands the importance of the 2008 election and intends to grant the governor's wish.

Candidates for president seldom win without carrying Ohio. John Kerry's fate was sealed in 2004 when late returns showed he narrowly lost Ohio.

"The pressure will be intense and immense. The attention to Ohio will be overwhelming. We'll be up for the challenge," Redfern said.

Strickland carried Gardner's district handily, so it looks likely a strong Democratic candidate could win, Redfern said.

Redfern also hopes he'll be replaced in his District 80 seat by another Democrat. The district covers Erie and Ottawa counties.

Democrats need to pick up only four seats to take control of the Ohio House, Redfern said. It will be the party's top priority, other than helping the Democratic nominee for president carry Ohio.

Redfern and Erie County Democratic Party Chairwoman Amy Grubbe said several potential candidates are looking at running for Redfern's seat. They declined to give any names

"For me to pinpoint people at this stage is a little early," Grubbe said.

One Democrat believed to be looking at a race is Sandusky City Commissioner Dennis Murray Jr., a local attorney.

"I don't have any comment," Murray said.

Ed Enderle, a Republican farmer and Huron Township trustee who ran against Redfern in 2006, said Friday he may try again in 2008 and is talking to his supporters and doing research.

"I am considering it. It's not set in stone yet," he said.