July 29, 2014

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Ed FitzGerald wins Democratic primary, will face Gov. John Kasich this fall

Ed FitzGerald

Ed FitzGerald

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Democrat Ed FitzGerald easily won the Democratic primary for governor on Tuesday, setting up a high-stakes showdown this fall with incumbent Republican John Kasich.

The 45-year-old FitzGerald, of Lakewood, is the county executive in Cuyahoga County, the state’s most populous Democratic stronghold. He’s a former FBI agent, mayor and prosecutor tapped to clean up county government after a corruption scandal.

His defeat of Larry Ellis Ealy, a little-known high school dropout from suburban Dayton, had been expected. He had hatched his plan to run for office from a jail cell, hoping to tackle oppression of minorities, legalize marijuana and educate and house the homeless.

With Tuesday’s primary behind them, FitzGerald and Democrats turn their attention to November.

The Kasich-FitzGerald match-up is expected to be among the nation’s most closely watched governor’s races, with some $10 million in combined fundraising — mostly by Kasich — already reported.

FitzGerald said his campaign will focus on restoring a feeling of confidence to the middle class.

“Ohio is being run by an administration that is dedicated to serving a small, privileged group of people, and ordinary Ohioans have been left out and stuck with the bill,” he told supporters gathered Tuesday.

Kasich, 61, a former congressman, investment banker and Fox News commentator, plans to keep the focus on his economic record.

His campaign began airing biographical TV ads on April 15 that emphasize Kasich’s blue-collar roots and dedication to creating an economic climate conducive to job growth.

The state unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in March, the lowest rate in six years.

“The governor’s record of creating jobs, balancing budgets and cutting taxes resonates with Ohioans across party lines and we look forward to talking about this strong record all the way to November,” spokeswoman Connie Wehrkamp said Tuesday.

Both men have female running mates.

FitzGerald will be joined by Yellow Springs attorney Sharen Swartz Neuhardt, a former candidate for Congress known for her outspoken support for abortion rights.

Kasich is partnering again with Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, a former state auditor and lawmaker from the Akron-area suburb of Green.

The governor was uncontested Tuesday, but that didn’t mean his road to primary victory was without its bumps. A fellow Republican and a tea party activist both tried but failed to mount successful primary challenges against the first-term governor.

Tuesday sealed fall primaries in Ohio’s other statewide races as well, in which sitting incumbents, all Republicans, as well as their Democratic challengers were unopposed.

Attorney General Mike DeWine will face Cincinnati lawyer David Pepper, a Democrat; Secretary of State Jon Husted faces Democratic state Sen. Nina Turner, of Cleveland; State Auditor Dave Yost faces Democratic state Rep. John Patrick Carney, of Columbus; and State Treasurer Josh Mandel faces Democratic state Rep. Connie Pillich, of suburban Cincinnati.

Messages seeking comment were left with Ealy.

  • Sis Delish

    “His defeat of Larry Ellis Ealy, a little-known high school dropout from suburban Dayton, had been expected. He had hatched his plan to run for office from a jail cell, hoping to tackle oppression of minorities, legalize marijuana and educate and house the homeless.”

    This is about as ominous as the Gordon Lightfoot song about the Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald….

  • alreadyfedup1

    Let’s hope the Fitzliberal campaign ends up on the bottom of the sea.

    • golfingirl

      I suspect a different outcome in November.

      • TheRustyScupper

        A lot of folks “suspect”. But, hunches won’t elect Fitz, thankfully. Ohio cannot afford another tax-and-spend Democrat. Under Kasich, the state has grown in jobs and status. Show us the growth under Dems, except for debt and job loss.

        • golfingirl

          I am agreeing with you.

          My post meant a different outcome for Fitz, as he will lose in November.

          • Simon Jester

            I’ll disagree.

            The electorate is uninformed, and Fitz will likely be the next Gov of Ohio.

            This is coming from the man who said Americans couldn’t possibly be dumb enough to elect a nobody with no record by the name of Barack Hussein Obama to our highest office.

            Call me shallow, but the left has elected a guy with “Hussein” as his middle name twice! It may has well have been Mohamed!

            I’ve been proven wrong*. Twice.

            * Well done, GOP. Run two candidates that are straight garbage or unelectable. McCain the dithering Dem wannabe or Romney the Mass Democrat.

            And they wonder why we vote 3rd party….