Cleveland Democrat enters 2014 governor race

Ed FitzGerald, the man Cuyahoga County voters elected two years ago to lead the post-corruption, reformed county government, throws hat in ring.
Associated Press
Apr 25, 2013

As he enters the race for Ohio governor, Cuyahoga County's Democratic leader and former FBI agent Ed FitzGerald must convince voters that being "Public Official 14" in a county corruption probe didn't imply wrongdoing.

Republicans are seizing on the connection to the probe, calling Democrat FitzGerald an unusually weak candidate.

FitzGerald, the leader of Cuyahoga County government in Cleveland, officially entered the campaign Wednesday to challenge Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich in next year's election and called the incumbent and his policies divisive and extreme.

The county executive and former Lakewood mayor kicked off his campaign in a crowded Cleveland ballroom, describing the Kasich administration as lobbyist-directed, cutting school aid and backing tax policies that benefit the rich.

FitzGerald repeated the announcement in Columbus, and later Wednesday in Cincinnati.

The 44-year-old calls himself a reformer who helped restore integrity to a scandal-ridden county government in Ohio's most populous county.

FitzGerald called Kasich policies destructive and said Ohioans question the governor's boast about an economic miracle. "A miracle for who," FitzGerald said to laughter.

"I believe, I really believe, that something better is possible," said FitzGerald, mentioning expanded early childhood education, creation of jobs offering living wages and protecting worker and voter rights.

"We can be a state that has a governor who every day makes it his vision to make it easier for Ohio families to get in the middle class and stay in the middle class," FitzGerald said as his wife and four children watched from nearby seats.

FitzGerald must fend off critics who seek to use his designation as Public Official 14 in the corruption probe to tarnish his tough-on-crime message. He was never a target and was not charged.

FitzGerald, asked about that after his announcement, smiled and said he had the corruption-fighting credentials to deflect GOP criticism.

"They tried to do that when I ran for county executive and it fell right on its face," he said. "First of all, I'm the only person that's, I guess, ever run for governor of Ohio that actually has a record investigating corrupt politicians, putting them in jail and taking a corrupt system and making it a more transparent and honest system."

That, according to FitzGerald, "is a record that the Republicans in state government who are having all kinds of ethical problems are not going to be able to match. So, I don't think that's going to work."

A Republican member of the Cuyahoga County Council, Dave Greenspan, said FitzGerald's candidacy would jeopardize efforts to restore trust in county government.

"We are coming off decades of corruption and unfair business practices: What this county needs is a stable government," Greenspan said Wednesday. "Changes in leadership at this time is not what's in the best interest of the county."

The executive and council replaced the three-commissioner Democratic-controlled government two years ago after a yearslong corruption investigation that netted more than 50 convictions including elected officials, employees and contractors.

The GOP welcomed FitzGerald to the campaign with a YouTube video with new captions belittling his own video announcement about his political plans.

"I dismantled a corrupt political patronage machine that was choking our county and holding us back," FitzGerald said in the video. The Republican response added video captions highlighting ethical issues involving FitzGerald appointments.

For his part, Kasich steered clear of the negative. Speaking to reporters after an event in Columbus, he said he had little time for politics.

"It's all a matter of how people feel, you know, if they feel their economic future is better. It's up to them," he said. "I think right now they feel that way. We'll just have to see — gotta keep going though, because if they don't think they're going to get their money's worth, they'll look in another direction."

FitzGerald enters the race as Kasich's approval rating is at the highest point of his governorship. A February Quinnipiac University poll found 53 percent of Ohio voters approved of the job Kasich is doing, compared to 32 percent who disapproved.

Voters' views of Kasich have improved since the dark days for his administration triggered by his support of a division bill limiting the power of Ohio's public employee unions. The bill, which brought thousands of angry protesters to the Statehouse for months, was repealed by voters in 2011.

FitzGerald told reporters he didn't know whether he would face a Democratic primary opponent. A divisive primary fight could drain resources that otherwise might be used against Kasich in the general election.

"The chances of there being a serious primary, a competitive primary is probably diminishing daily," he said.

Within days of the FitzGerald announcement in March that he was exploring a run, the Democratic primary field cleared out of FitzGerald's path.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a 39-year-old Niles Democrat, said he believed he could do more for his region, state and country remaining as a congressman. Former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton said that after careful consideration she'd decided not to challenge Kasich.

Those announcements have left only former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray's aspirations for the office a mystery. He had once said he intended to seek the governorship, but has since gotten a top job as President Barack Obama's consumer protection watchdog. His appointment remains under scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

___

Sheeran reported from Cleveland.

 

Comments

Pterocarya frax...

Que the conservative haters.

3...2...1...

luvblues2

"Cue"

Contango

Jeezus! The gubernatorial election ain't until Nov. 2014 - about 19 mos. away.

Let the campaign cash flow and the political rhetorical nonsense begin!

Regardless, voters tend to vote their pocketbook.

The election will pretty much be decided on how the OH economy looks in late 2014.

So far, the unemployment rate is better than in 2010:

http://www.google.com/publicdata...

KnuckleDragger

He's only announcing now so he can try to get people signed on to contribute to his campaign, before Richard Cordray jumps in. In early polling Cordray is the only Dem that stands a chance of beating Kasich. Fitz is just an egomaniac, drunk on political power. He is the Dem version of Josh Mandel, jumps from one job to another without finishing the last one.

Contango

Speakin' of Mr. Cordray; is that a rug on his head?

He kinda reminds me of Sen. Brown who looks like he could use a comb.

Centauri

Cordray reminds me of Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1442113/

Julie R.

Richard Cordray is going to run for governor? He's a joke. He was worthless when he was an OAG when he ignored all those complaints about the corruption going on in Cuyahoga County. I sure would hate to see him as governor.

Centauri

http://www.dispatch.com/content/...
"TheDispatch has learned that Kent Markus, Cordray’s friend and director of enforcement for the federal consumer bureau, made an online donation of $500 to FitzGerald on March 17."

Kent Markus gave legal assistance to former Ohio Governor Strickland. Kent Markus is the son of Richard Markus, the retired judge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken...

Julie R.

Wasn't Richard Markus the 85-year-old retired Cuyahoga County judge that said he was 'intimidated' (what a joke) by Elsebeth Baumgartner's e-mails so that joke Cuyahoga County common pleas court judge (better known as 'lawmiss' on cleveland. com) could sentence her to prison for 8 years?

KnuckleDragger

No haters here. I think the Dems will be making a huge mistake running Fitzgerald for governor. 75% of Ohioans have no clue who he is. Even many Dems in Cuyahoga county have said they will not vote for him. Take a look at the Cleveland Plain Dealer discussion board and you will see 20 to 1 spread of those who would or wouldn't vote for Fitzgerald. The same Dems who reeled against Josh Mandel running for Senate are now touting Fitzgerald as their savior. Fitz didn't finish his term on Lakewood city council before running and being elected mayor of Lakewood. As Mayor he was a vocal opponent of changing Cuyahoga Cty government to a county executive type of government. Then when the people voted to change it to County exec. he ran for and was elected without finishing his term as Mayor, mind you to a position he was against. Now he is running for Governor without completing his term as county exec. He is more of a job jumper than Mandel. The bottom line is you Dems would vote for Donald Duck if you saw a D behind his name. What a bunch of hypocrites. Take a look at Fitz's record since he has been in office. He has done nothing, unless you include using taxpayer money to give every kindergartener $100 to buy their parents vote...I mean toward college. You guys would be better off running that kook Redfern. LOL.

Anyway, it's a great day for Kasich, Fitz doesn't stand a chance of winning.

The Big Dog's back

I think the former F.B.I. agent has a good chance.

KnuckleDragger

Why are you going to vote for him? LOL. Oh, that's right you can't you aren't even an Ohio resident. Now run along.

Erie County Resident

Let me guess KD Big Dorks backside lives in Serbia.
He loves how things are run there.

Contango

@ ECR:

A Serbian couple bought my house in Chicago. They were GLAD to get out and they LOVE this country.

Those that lived under and know communism understand. Only the ignorant are Marxists.

The Big Dog's back

So both of you rocket scientists think America is doing well? Glad you like President Obama.

Kimo

Comments from the same experts that predicted a Romney win.

I

Those who predicted a Romney win thought democrats were smarter than to vote to re-elect an empty suit who had done little to improve their situation and that of the country during his first term. They were wrong.

KnuckleDragger

Oh Dems in the Northern part of the state will vote for Fitz. They aren't smart enough to do anything but vote for the D. The same ones like Kimo who threw a tantrum about Josh Mandel for job hopping, don't seem to care as long as it's a Dem. The rest of the state, well not so much, nobody knows him, and what information there is about him says he really hasn't done much for Cuyahoga county. Like I said, read some blogs from Cuyahoga county, not many speak highly of Fitzgerald.

The Dems are banking on the SB5 debacle to get their candidate elected. The only ones that will vote Dem based on that are union members, which make up less than 10% of voters. The non-union members who voted to repeal SB5 aren't going to care. In fact there are alot of people who voted to repeal SB5 that now regret their vote.

Kimo

Some of you need a little mirror hanging in your cage so you have someone to talk to......
LOL

Contango

@ Kimo:

Why the bitterness millionaire-next-door? There was no way that "Obamny" could lose.

BTW: Pres. Obama is donating 5% of his salary. Like a good lib, have you contributed your SS stipend to charity yet?

KnuckleDragger

LOL, Kimo give up his SS? Give me a break. He has made the suggestion that retired military give up their pension though, because you know, they didn't earn it. I tell ya what I will send back my pension when hypocrites like Kimo and Big Dog send back their SS.

JACKEL

Romney did win the real election by the American Citizens !

The Big Dog's back

Real election?

KURTje

Relax...the people will vote, they decide. Its that E-z.

Kimo

What Kurtje said...

gene44870

Now this scares me .Here you have more republicians in office then demacrates , and now you have a demacrate that wants to run for governor of ohio
Now lets see , on the fed level you have demacrates that controll the congress and republicans that controll the house and they all cant get together in the name of the U.S and come up with a budget that is going to do what needs to be done
How does this man think its going to be any different if he were to get into office and do what he wants to do to help the very people that voted him in ?
I know that a lot of people are not going to like this , but the facts as iI know them speak loud and clear
There hasnt been enough in my book to help people get back to work and that is the only thing that I can see that is going to put this country back on the map and get things back where they should be and will be the only thing that is going increase the tax base , that makes this country strong .
Raising Taxes on the rich , middle class and the poor is not going to fix the problem
More money needs to be spent on the state level as well as the federal level to get more people back to work
when people work they pay taxes and tax dollars is what makes this country run

bullydogs1971

"The Democrats are playing you for a political CHUMP and if you vote for them, not only are you a CHUMP, you are a traitor to your race!!"
Malcom X
He was killed two days after he said this!

Contango

Socialism = slavery.

The Big Dog's back

Capitalism = Slavery.