2014 election

Tana Weingartner

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune has given up plans to challenge Ed FitzGerald in a Democratic  primary race for Ohio Governor.

Portune's decision came only five days before the Wednesday filing deadline for statewide candidates. After crisscrossing the state since early December trying to drum up support, in the end he could not muster enough support or overcome the opposition of the Ohio Democratic Party, which has endorsed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald will come to Butler County's heavily-Republican Liberty Township tonight for a fundraising event.

FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County Executive who has been endorsed for governor by the Ohio Democratic Party, will be at a reception and fundraiser at 5 p.m. at the home of Kathy Wyenandt, the chair of the Butler County Democratic Party executive committee.

The incumbent Republican governor, John Kasich, defeated then-Democratic governor Ted Strickland in 2010 by a large margin - 74,972 votes to Strickland's 40,153.

provided

A showdown this fall between two of the most potent political names in Hamilton County is coming this fall when Democrat Charlie Luken takes on Repubican Ralph E. "Ted" Winkler for a probate court judgeship.

Both come from families with decades-long track records of winning elections in Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Luken - a former Cincinnati mayor and one-term congressman - filed petitions with the Hamilton County Board of Elections Tuesday to run for the probate court seat of Judge James Cissell, who can't run for re-election because of Ohio's judicial age limit law.

Michael E. Keating

WVXU's political reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the Ohio governor's race and whether Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune is about to jump in.

In or out?

The clock is ticking on Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune’s ambition to be the Democratic nominee for governor; and Portune probably has little more than a week to make up his mind.

Portune is saying that, by the end of the week, he should be ready to announce one way or the other about whether he will be a candidate for Ohio governor.

It’s a long shot; a 70-yard “Hail Mary” pass into the end zone for Portune to begin with.

A few weeks ago, the 2014 Ohio gubernatorial race looked like a fairly simple affair.

John Kasich, the incumbent Republican, was set to face off in the fall with a Democrat, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

The conventional wisdom was that Kasich was the favorite for re-election, although there was polling out there that suggested that FitzGerald – still a relative unknown outside of northeast Ohio – was within striking distance.

It is widely believed that, in 2004, George W. Bush won a second term in the White House because Ohio had a constitutional amendment on the ballot banning same-sex marriage.

The electoral college contest between Bush and Democrat John Kerry, came down to Ohio. Ohio’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage brought out evangelical Christian voters in droves – the so-called “values voters.”

Ohio Senate

Despite owing nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in unpaid state and federal taxes, State Sen. Eric Kearney made it clear Wednesday morning that he has no intention of stepping down as the Democratic candidate for Ohio lieutenant governor.

“I’m in it to stay,’’ the North Avondale Democrat said in a teleconference with Ohio reporters that lasted well over an hour Wednesday. “My wife and I made the decision that we’re going to do this and we’re going to do it; and we’re here to follow it through.”

Despite being unknown to seven out of 10 Ohio registered voters, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed Fitzgerald is gaining on Republican incumbent governor John Kasich, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

In the poll, conducted Nov. 19-24, Kasich had 44 percent to FitzGerald’s 37 percent. In June, Kasich held a 14 percentage point lead over FitzGerald, who is the elected Cuyahoga County executive.

If old guard Republicans in Hamilton County were the type to use Internet slang, they might be typing “smh” when they see what is going on with their county and the Ohio Democratic Party these days.

“Scratching my head,’’ for those who don’t keep up with internet slang.

There was a time, a few decades ago, when the Ohio Democratic Party barely acknowledged the existence of Hamilton County; they turned their heads and pretended extreme southwest corner of the state didn’t exist because it was so thoroughly Republican.

Those days are gone.

Ohio Senate

State Senator Eric Kearney of North Avondale will be Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald's running mate for lieutenant governor, a campaign source said today.

Kearney, who is 50 years old, will officially join the Democratic ticket tomorrow at an event with FitzGerald  at Crowley's Pub in Mt. Adams, according to FitzGerald campaign spokesman Matt McGrath.

Cuyahoga County executive FitzGerald is taking on incumbent Republican governor John Kasich in the 2014 election. It is assumed that Kasich will run with the current lieutenant governor, Mary Taylor.

Odd, very odd.

Two public opinion polls, taken about two months apart, asking Ohio voters the same question: who would you vote for governor if the 2014 election were held today, Republican incumbent John Kasich or Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald?

The first one, done by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in June, had Kasich leading FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County Executive, by 14 percentage points – 47 percent to 33 percent. In a poll with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent, that is a comfortable lead.

So, the Ohio Ethics Commission said this week it has no reason to investigate Gov. John Kasich’s ethical relationship with a company that received more than $500,000 in state tax credits.

End of story, right?

Well, maybe not.

It is a story that involves JobsOhio, the private non-profit economic development firm created by Kasich soon after he became governor to replace the public Ohio Department of Development.

Provided by campaign

Matt Bevin, a Louisville businessman with support from Kentucky tea party activists, plans to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 GOP Senate primary.

Bevin, a partner in a hedge fund group, plans to make his announcement at the Kentucky statehouse in Frankfort Wednesday morning; and go on to campaign stops in Newport and Louisville later in the day.

Challenging an incumbent U.S. Senator is always difficult; and McConnell already has $10 million in his campaign account and the support of a Super PAC called Kentuckians for strong leadership.

Ohio Democrats who were hoping that Richard Cordray, the former state treasurer and attorney general, might rush in on a white horse, with a hardy “Heigh Ho Silver”  and save the day in the 2014 Ohio governor’s race, may as well move along.


There’s nothing to see here.

Round one in the battle took place in November 2004, when 62 percent of Ohioans voted in favor of a constitutional ban.


Round two could be right around the corner, possibly in November 2014, if FreedomOhio, a pro-gay marriage group, succeeds in getting a new constitutional amendment on the ballot.


FreedomOhio had a good week.

The 2014 slate of Democratic candidates for Ohio’s statewide offices is not exactly set in stone, but it is getting pretty close.


Why so early, you ask?


Well, when you have been beaten like a rented mule in the 2010 statewide elections, as the Ohio Democratic Party was, there is no such thing as being too early out of the gate.

Facebook page

State Rep. Connie Pillich, a Democrat from Montgomery, announced this morning she will take on Republican incumbent Josh Mandel for the Ohio treasurer's office in 2014.

Pillich, who represents the 28th Ohio House District in northern Hamilton County, won re-election last year after Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly had re-drawn her district to make it considerably more Republican.

She is a third term state representative, a retired captain in the U.S. Air Force, and a lawyer.

If you are an incumbent elected official and you are facing re-election, with dismal looking poll numbers and a potentially difficult challenger looming on the horizon, there is one thing you are likely to do.


Knock that challenger down a notch or two before he or she even gets in the race.


This is the situation where Kentucky’s senior senator, Republican Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate minority leader, finds himself.

Campaign website

Democrat Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive, is expected to formally announce his candidacy for Ohio governor Wednesday at stops in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati event takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Laborers' Local Union Hall at 3457 Montgomery Rd. in Evanston. RSVPs for all three events can be made here.

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