Gov. John Kasich doesn't come up for re-election until 2014, but I'm already tired of the governor's race. It hasn't been very elevating so far.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, a young man in a hurry, hasn't been in office very long. He took over in December 2010. He's done a good job of cleaning up a corrupt, inefficient system, and some might say he ought to stay put for awhile. But he's already running for governor, seeking the Democratic nomination. Many possible rivals, such as Tim Ryan and Betty Sutton, already have ruled out a race for governor.
In a video on his campaign Web site — yes, he already has one — FitzGerald lays out his possible campaign themes, including this sentence: "If you're tired of a status quo that passed the buck to local communities while you get nickled and dimed to death, join me."
The problem with that statement is that FitzGerald is the king of nickle and diming Ohioans with the sales tax. As you can see from this sales tax map put out by the Ohio Department of Taxation, Cuyahoga County's 7.75 percent sales tax rate is the highest in the state. By comparison, Erie County's is 6.5 percent. To put it another way, Cuyahoga County's sales tax rate the highest of Ohio's 88 counties.
In the same video, FitzGerald complains about cuts in state subsidies for local government. Does he want to fix that by raising state taxes? And if he does, how high does he want to go? On the state level, he's only competing against 49 other governments for the No. 1 spot.
Instead of talking about issues, however, the cynics in the Ohio Republican Party have launched a new website, Public Official 14, which aims to tar FitzGerald with the county corruption scandal. (If you're eager to go on a Republican email list, you can "sign a petition demanding answers.") FitzGerald's record toward Cuyahoga County corruption actually is quite good -- the FBI even took time to issue a statement saying that FitzGerald isn't under investigation -- but Republican officials apparently assume that voters won't pay attention to the actual details.
The best news about the governor's race is that Ted Strickland won't run again. While serving as governor, Strickland said he wouldn't call for Dimora to step down as commissioner.
Strickland explained he was too busy. "My time and attention, quite frankly, has been devoted to providing leadership for the state of Ohio," Strickland said. He did his time and attention as governor, however, to publicly beg LeBron James to stay in Ohio.