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Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 10:26 AM
Updated: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 12:13 PM
GROVE CITY — Surrounded by friends and family and a pack of journalists, Democrat Richard Cordray launched his 2018 bid for Ohio governor in a local diner in his hometown in suburban Columbus on Tuesday, promising to focus on kitchen table issues.
The question is, will Democrats in Ohio see him as their best hope against a Republican field of familiar faces?
Cordray, 58, is the sixth candidate to jump into the Democratic primary race. While he is the only candidate to have been on the statewide ballot five times — winning twice — his delayed entry into the race means he will be working on a compressed timeline to re-introduce himself to Ohio voters and raise the $20 million in cash needed to run a credible gubernatorial campaign.
On the first day after his announcement, Cordray will hold a public event in Dayton at the Old Courthouse at 301 W. Third Street at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday. he will also campaign in Cincinnati and Toledo.
The primary is May 8.
“I will deliver results and I’ll do it the Ohio way. The way I’ve always done things,” said Cordray, with his wife Peggy at his side. “Not by stirring conflict, sowing division or pitting people against one another. We are seeing way too much of that from Washington, D.C.”
Related: Cordray announces exit from federal postHe declined to talk about the others in the race but did say, “I’ll take on all comers at every stage and I think we will do very well. But it’s up to the voters to decide that. I’ve certainly learned that over the years.”
Until last month, Cordray served as director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal post that prohibited him from discussing politics while he held the job. Appointed to the post by President Barack Obama, his term was due to end in July.
Cordray said Obama wrote him a letter in January, shortly before leaving office, encouraging Cordray to keep fighting at the CFPB.
“I needed to finish my work properly there and be satisfied that I wouldn’t regret for the rest of my life things that we put years of work into, like the payday lending rule, which we finalized this fall,” he said. “I could feel as the year went on that there was a bigger fight developing back here in Ohio and that it’s a fight that we’re seeing over the soul of America in terms of how we handle politics, how we handle our communities, how we treat one another. That is something I want to be part of.”
Related: DeWine-Husted ticket called a ‘dream team’ by GOP lawmakerCordray emphasized that he has never left Ohio, saying he commuted between Columbus and D.C. more than 300 times during his six years at the CFPB.
“This is my hometown and I never became a creature of Washington,” he said to applause by the small group of supporters at Lilly’s Kitchen Table. “It (Washington, D.C.) always was strange to me and I found that I developed new allergies when I went there.”
His primary opposition at this point is: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state representative Connie Pillich of Cincinnati, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill.
Cordray declined to discuss his potential running mate or campaign strategy. “We are going to get a lot of help nationally because there is a lot of interest in this race and a lot of interest in my candidacy,” he said.
Republicans running include Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor of Green, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine of Cedarville. DeWine is running with Secretary of State Jon Husted of Upper Arlington.
Related: Who is running for governor?Cordray’s strength in the race would seem to be his name ID and connections to Obama, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other high-profile Democrats who may be willing to help him raise money. Also, he has a lengthy political resume: Ohio attorney general, state treasurer, county treasurer, state representative, law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court justices, Ohio State University law professor, Ohio Solicitor General, intern to John Glenn and five time Jeopardy! champion.
His entry in the race comes the day after four of the five Democrats in the race debated in Cleveland. O’Neill did not appear and has said he would drop out if Cordray got in.
Whaley issued a written statement, saying in part that she looks forward to voters comparing the candidates’ records.
DeWine campaign spokesman Ryan Stubenrauch said in a written statement that Cordray is the sixth Democratic candidate who wants to “bring failed liberal policies to Ohio.”
Any Democrat would appear to have a difficult road. Although Ohio is a swing state in presidential contests, by the time Republican John Kasich finishes his second term, the Ohio GOP will have controlled the governor’s office for 24 of the past 28 years.
If DeWine is the GOP nominee and Cordray gets the Democratic party nomination, the general election will be rematch of 2010 when the two faced off in the attorney general’s race. DeWine beat Cordray, the incumbent, by 48,686 votes — a margin of 1.28 percent.
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 2:51 PM
Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 2:51 PM
— Nobody denies the Democratic field of candidates running for Ohio governor is crowded.
But the whether that is a good thing for the party — and its fortunes in November — depends on how the five candidates behave, according to political experts and party officials.
“I am not sure we can assume that a tight primary will damage a candidate for a general election unless the party emerges fractured,” said Mark Caleb Smith, director of the Center for Political Studies at Cedarville College.
Assuming no one drops out — or suddenly appears — by the Feb. 7 filing deadline, Democratic voters will chose among five candidates, two of whom have strong statewide name recognition.
Dennis Kucinich, a former U.S. congressman and former Cleveland mayor, joined the race on Wednesday. Kucinich has twice run for president, but has been out of Congress since 2012, after Republican-led redistricting combined his Cleveland-area district with the one held by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo. Kaptur defeated Kucinich in the Democratic primary.
Richard Cordray was also a late entry in the Democratic race, joining it in November after leaving his job as director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray has twice won statewide elections — once for Ohio treasurer and once for attorney general. He lost to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in 2010. President Barack Obama then picked him to lead the consumer protection bureau.
Former Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich of Cincinnati, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill are also in the running. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley was in the race but dropped out and said she would support Cordray. Former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton withdrew her candidacy after Cordray picked her to be his running mate.
Kucinich on Friday selected Akron councilwoman Tara Samples to join him on the ticket.
Narrowed Republican field
There are just two candidates left on the Republican side: DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. The field narrowed when DeWine tapped Secretary of State Jon Husted to be his running mate. Husted had been running for the top job. Then Rep. Jim Renacci changed races and said he would run for the Senate instead of governor after Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel abandoned his bid for that office, attributing the decision to his wife’s health.
Smith says DeWine is the frontrunner in the race and has what he called the “experience edge.” Taylor, who has been in state government since 2003, has taken aim at what she calls “career politicians,” hoping perhaps to borrow from the winning strategy employed by President Donald Trump in Ohio in 2016. She picked Cincinnati businesman Nathan Estruth to be her running mate.
“In many ways the Ohio GOP has been ground zero for a Trump-Kasich proxy war,” said Lee Hannah, assistant professor of political science at Wright State University. “I think that could continue into the primaries although I’m not really sure that Taylor and Estruth can keep up with DeWine and Husted’s fundraising,”
No cake walk
Christopher Devine, assistant professor of political science at the University of Dayton, sees Cordray as the frontrunner in the Democratic race and said the primary will give him a chance to knock off some rust since he hasn’t run for office since 2010.
But it’s far from a cake walk. Kucinich has strong name identification and a working class back story. Pillich is a lawyer, has an Air Force background and is the lone woman in the field. Schiavoni has a strong following in northeast Ohio, a part of the state crucial for any Democrat to win. And O’Neill, while perhaps best described as a wild card, has made enough controversial statements to draw headlines from one end of the state to the other —if nothing else, putting his name before voters.
Senate Republicans have started a process to remove him from the Supreme Court for campaigning while on the bench.
David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, says he is staying neutral. The party is holding candidate debates open to any of the Democrats willing to be vetted by the party. Only O’Neill has refused to be vetted, according to Pepper.
Pepper said his goal is to have an energetic, transparent primary and he sees it as a plus that five people and their running mates will be scouring the state for votes and preaching the Democratic message. When it’s over, he expects everyone to unite around the candidate who wins.
“The first thing we need to do is make sure the core Democrats are energized about our candidates,” he said.
RELATED: Kucinich launches governor bidTweets by Ohio_Politics
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:04 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:04 PM
— Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich on Friday chose Akron City Councilwoman Tara Samples as his running mate in his bid for Ohio governor.
Samples fills out the field of lieutenant governor candidates in the 2018 race to replace Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is term limited.
Kucinich, 71, on Wednesday announced his decision to run in the Democratic primary.
RELATED: Kucinich launches governor bid
Samples was elected to council in 2013, works as is a paralegal and is a former court bailiff and U.S. Postal Service employee, according to the Associated Press. Speaking at his news conference in Akron, Kucinich said Samples is a highly regarded community leader, volunteer and political activist and he called it the honor of his life to stand beside her, according to AP.
Kucinich and Samples join a crowded field of Democrats in the May 8 primary. They are Richard Cordray, former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with his running mate, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron; former state representative Connie Pillich of Cincinnati and her running mate, Marion Mayor Scott Shertzer; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, and his running mate Ohio Board of Education member Stephanie Dodd; and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, whose running mate is Chantelle E. Lewis, a Lorain elementary school principal.
Candidates on the Republican side are Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his running mate Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and running mate, Nathan Estruth , a Cincinnati businessman.
The filing deadline for the race is Feb. 7.
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:52 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:52 PM
Columbus — State officials are scrambling to hold more than 60 appeal hearings for companies that did not win medical marijuana cultivator licenses in Ohio.
So far, 68 of the 161 rejected applicants have filed for a “119 hearing,” in which a hearing officer listens to the state and the business present their cases on why the licensing decision should stand or be reversed. The window is still open for more rejected companies to request hearings.
“We are just in the process of getting them all scheduled,” said Ohio Department of Commerce spokeswoman Stephanie Gostomski. She added that the hearing she attended lasted two hours and the applicant was a no-show.
Late last year, the state awarded 24 cultivator licenses — a dozen small scale and a dozen large scale.
After the hearing, administrative hearing officers give their recommendation on what should happen. If the applicants don’t like the outcome, their next legal remedy is to file a lawsuit against the state.
Ohio voters in November 2015 rejected a ballot issue to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use. State lawmakers, though, adopted a law making medical marijuana legal in 2016. Regulators spent 2016 and 2017 establishing rules and reviewing applications from those who want licenses to grow, process, test and dispense medical marijuana.
Not everyone is happy with the process, particularly some who failed to win cultivator licenses.
The Ohio Department of Commerce vigorously defended the process used to pick winners and losers, saying applicants had to clear the initial requirements in five areas before moving on to the second level of scoring.
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:36 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 5:36 PM
— Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich told local Democrats that it is time to reclaim Ohio and start spending state resources on things that help everyone rather than tax cuts for the wealthy.
“I’m in the position to get in the game and say, ‘Look, this changes. We have to be fair to all Ohioans,’” said Kucinich, speaking to the South Dayton Democratic Club on Wednesday after announcing he is running for governor in the Democratic primary.
“We can’t meet our health care needs, our education needs, we cannot rebuild this state if all we’re doing is taking resources of the state and giving it to a select few that already is very wealthy.”
Kucinich, a former mayor of Cleveland, announced he would join the already-crowded Democratic field during a Wednesday rally at Middleburg Heights in Cuyahoga County.
He pledged to focus on fighting poverty and violence and to promote economic opportunity the arts and education, according to the Associated Press.
Later he traveled to Columbus and then spoke to the South Dayton Democratic Club at the West Carrollton branch of the Dayton Metro Library.
Kucinich outlined his plans to raise the minimum wage, improve infrastructure and establish a non-profit broadband internet public utility.
“I could win this election. I may be the only Democrat who can win because I have the ability to reach out, because I don’t polarize. Because I know the aspirations of people without regard to party,” Kucinich said during an interview after he spoke to Democrats at the West Carrollton branch of the Dayton Metro Library.
Kucinich, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004 and 2008, believes he can bring Democrats who voted for President Donald Trump back to the fold.
“When I look at my own congressional district the Democrats who went for Trump were concerned about trade, were concerned about war, were concerned about corruption in the government and the Democratic Party lost them. I can reach back to them and bring them back,” Kucinich said.
Democratic candidate Connie Pillich welcomes Kucinich to the race, said Eric Goldman, campaign manager for Pillich, a former state representative from Cincinnati.
“With that said, there is nothing in Kucinich's record that would demonstrate an appeal to Trump voters, swing voters, or disaffected Republicans,” Goldman said. “The Connie Pillich-Scott Schertzer team is the only Democratic ticket in this primary that has a history of appealing to voters from across the aisle and a track record of winning tough campaigns.”
Kucinich, 71, lost his congressional seat in 2012 to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, after the Republican redistricting of 2011 put the two Democrats in the same district. He enters the governor’s race relatively late but has been traveling the state over the last year denouncing public funding for charter schools and in support of state Issue 2, the prescription drug ballot issue that failed in November.
With the Feb. 7 filing deadline for the May 8 primary approaching, the Democratic and Republican fields are solidifying.
Last week Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley withdrew from the Democratic primary and threw her support behind Richard Cordray, former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a former Ohio treasurer and attorney general. Cordray’s running mate is former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron.
Also in the race are Pillich of Cincinnati, and her running mate and Marion mayor, Schertzer; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, who is running with Ohio Board of Education member Stephanie Dodd; and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, whose running mate is Chantelle E. Lewis, a Lorain elementary school principal.
The ballot is less crowded on the Republican side where Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his running mate, Secretary of State Jon Husted, are opposed by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and running mate Nathan Estruth, a Cincinnati businessman.
“We welcome Mr. Kucinich to the race. Our campaign looks forward to taking on whichever Democrat emerges from their crowded primary,” said Ryan Stubenrauch, campaign spokesperson for DeWine/Husted. “Mike DeWine and Jon Husted have the vision and plan to lead Ohio boldly into the future bringing more high-paying jobs, solving the opioid crisis and securing economic prosperity for all of Ohio.”
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