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Four Cincinnati Democrats on statewide ballot?

Michael Keating

On Friday night, at the Columbus Athenaeum, the Ohio Democratic Democratic Party will hold its annual "Legacy Dinner," one of the party's largest fundraising events of the year.

"Let's celebrate our 2014 talent,'' says the announcement on the party's website,

In other words, it is a "cattle call" for potential statewide candidates.

What that means is that many of the speakers that night are elected officials who are possible candidates for statewide office in 2014; and there are no less than four of them from Cincinnati - a highly unusual number for this part of the state.

It is, in effect, an audition for potential candidates before a large crowd of party activists.

Among those speaking at the dinner are:

- Former county commissioner David Pepper, who has all but announced he is running for Ohio attorney general.

-  State Sen. Eric Kearney of North Avondale, who is term-limited out of the legislature next year.

- State Rep. Connie Pillich of Montgomery, who managed to get herself re-elected last fall despite the GOP-led legislature re-drawing her district to make it considerably more Republican.

- and State Rep. Alicia Reece of Bond Hill, who is president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and could run for one more term in the Ohio House in 2014.

Other speakers include Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive who has formed an exploratory committee to run for governor in 2014; and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, who is also pondering a run for governor.

More information on the dinner can be found here.

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.