November 1, 2014

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FitzGerald admits to driving without a license

Gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald stops Friday at Lorain County Democratic Party headquarters in Sheffield Township. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald stops Friday at Lorain County Democratic Party headquarters in Sheffield Township. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

SHEFFIELD TWP. — Ed FitzGerald acknowledged Friday that he drove without a license during the 10 years he didn’t have a driver’s license.

“I’m sure there were times I did,” the Democratic candidate for governor said when asked about driving without a license during a sparsely attended campaign stop at Lorain County Democratic Party headquarters.

FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive challenging Republican Gov. John Kasich, has been taking heat for the past week after it was revealed that he didn’t have a driver’s license between 2002 and November 2012.

“It was a mistake. I was careless … and I corrected it, but took me too long to correct it, and I don’t have any excuse for it,” he said.

FitzGerald did have a series of temporary permits at various points during that time, including when he was found by Westlake police in a parked car with a member of an Irish trade delegation in October 2012. FitzGerald has insisted that that nothing improper happened with the woman, whom he was driving back to her hotel from a night out with other members of the trade delegation.

FitzGerald suggested that the questions surrounding his driving record are the result of opposition research by Republicans.

“If you run for governor, they go through your life with a fine-tooth comb, and they try to figure out what’s the worst thing they can say about you and that’s what they’ve come up with,” he said. “That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a mistake, ‘cause it was.”

Chris Schrimpf, spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, blasted FitzGerald’s credibility in an emailed statement released Friday after the event in Sheffield Township.

“Voters have no reason to trust Ed FitzGerald or believe anything he says,” Schrimpf wrote. “His story is contradicted by one of his long-time and closest aides, he didn’t take the opportunity to come clean about not having a regular driver’s license for 10 years, and he continues to withhold records that would tell voters when he was at county government buildings. His credibility is zero. It is clear the only thing he cares about is himself.”

FitzGerald said that he hasn’t had a moving violation since the 1990s, but that if he had, it probably would have forced him to deal with the matter.

“Anything that I offer you in terms of an explanation will sound like an excuse, and as I told you, I don’t have an excuse for it, and I’m not offering an excuse for it,” he said.

He called the questions about his driving record “fair,” but said they are distracting from talk about the issues such as the environment, education and economic policy.

“People actually do deserve a campaign that actually focuses on the big issues, and that’s what I’m going to try to talk about,” FitzGerald said.

He was critical of cutbacks to local government funding under Kasich’s leadership, which he said has resulted in a reduction of $14 million in state dollars flowing to Lorain County schools. He also said Kasich’s budgets have cut about $33 million in state funding to the county and its various political subdivisions.

“The state budget has been balanced by taking money out of local communities in a way that we’ve never seen on this scale when it comes to state administrations because (of) the 50 percent cut in local government funds,” he said.

Those reductions have limited the ability of local communities across the state to respond to the challenges they face, including the heroin epidemic and the recent algal bloom in Lake Erie that led to Toledo issuing a ban on its residents drinking the water.

“In a nutshell it has reduced their ability to have resources to respond to whatever crisis they might face,” FitzGerald said.

Schrimpf defended Kasich’s record, saying that the state has seen economic growth under the governor and that more than 97 percent of the state’s counties, cities and villages reported budget surpluses at the end of 2012.

“While Ohio’s communities are gaining strength under Gov. Kasich’s leadership, FitzGerald’s big government, big spending approach would move Ohio backwards,” Schrimpf wrote.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.


  • SniperFire

    ‘ FitzGerald has insisted that that nothing improper happened with the woman, whom he was driving back to her hotel from a night out with other members of the trade delegation.’

    Listen to the 911 call that reported the two getting it on in the parking lot, and then decide for yourself. LOL

    http://www.wkyc.com/story/news/local/cuyahoga-county/2014/08/01/fitzgerald-cancels-campaign-stops-then-cancels-press-conference/13469355/

    • Sis Delish

      Many of us got FitzGeralded in High School, at the Drive-In, and in parking lots of Electrical Contractors. But, not at 4:30 a.m.!

    • Conservator440

      The story has plausable deniability–it did make some sense. Until you find out that he was hosting a delegate at 4:30 in the morning.

      He’s a democrat—it is expected, and it will be excused and dismissed. And the bumblebrains will vote for him. Fitzgerald is Strickland light.

      • alreadyfedup1

        I’ve got a (D) so where is my freebie?

  • golfingirl

    “FitzGerald has insisted that that nothing improper happened with the woman, whom he was driving back to her hotel from a night out with other members of the trade delegation.”

    It was 4:30 in the morning!

    The bars/restaurants close around 1:30am.

    If it took him 3 hours to drive her back to her hotel, it is probably a good thing he doesn’t have a driver’s license.

    • alreadyfedup1

      The State requires a LICENSED driver be in the car. OK. It doesn’t say if the driver has to be licensed in the United States. Did anyone check to see if the Delegate was a licensed driver for Ireland? I’m thinking NOT!

  • HowAboutThisOne?

    What the heck, this republican based paper is only allowing the three GOP based comments, deleting the rest…biased!

    http://imgur.com/jT9U6dl

    • HankKwah

      LMAO Try not swearing.

      • HowAboutThisOne?

        Not any fun when you have all the cheat codes.

        • HankKwah

          Gotcha.

      • boonesimpson

        not swearing, not personally attacking each other and not setting up multiple accounts are all good ideas.

        • HankKwah

          No need to tell me. I have no issues posting.

    • Conservator440

      You going to take your toys and go home because you didn’t get your way?

  • HankKwah

    “If you run for governor, they go through your life with a fine-tooth comb, and they try to figure out what’s the worst thing they can say about you and that’s what they’ve come up with,” he said.

    If you run for ANY political office, your opponent and the press go through your life with a fine-toothed comb. The running joke of researching your genealogy the free and easy way is to run for office applies here. Funny how he just downplays it as the Republicans being after him, as opposed to him having been too irresponsible to take 20 minutes out of 10 years to get his license.

    • Conservator440

      Remember that Democrats are always right, all that they do is perfect and always on the up and up. Their voters fall in lock step with the candidate with the correct letter, D, following their name. It would be so nice if people would wise up and see that democrats lie every time their lips move.

      • tickmeoff

        Both sides lie. Governor Kasich’s latest lie. I did not increase taxes, yet every time you go the store to purchase something, along with it comes a higher state sales tax implemented By Kasich who never lies! LMAO!

        • Conservator440

          And yet you neglect to mention that the state income tax rates were reduced. Go to Florida, there is no state income tax, yet the revenue is raised by sales taxes. Florida’s economy is great, and ours has greatly improved since the “governor born in a barn” was removed from office.

          • Pablo Jones

            The sad part is Florida can run their state off sales tax and their sales tax is roughly the same as it is in Ohio, 7%.

          • Beentheredonethat

            Florida is a Right to Work State…

          • tickmeoff

            You were talking about lieing, not economic performance. He did raise the state sales tax, so he shouldn’t be running on a platform that indicates he didn’t raise taxes. When dealing with human beings, my expectation is to get lied to, by Republicans and Democrats. At this point in time, your guy should win, though Mr Fitzgerald still has time on his side. If this was a Horse race, he is leading on the back stretch, though it is the end that counts.

          • Conservator440

            Oh come now, grown man, politician, no driver’s license found in a pickup truck with a woman not his wife in a parking lot at 4:30 am. Even you should be able to smell the fish..

            Elections are always a horse race, problem is that your horse is running in the wrong direction.

          • alreadyfedup1

            ReTardTED Strickliand……..LMAO.

  • LookBackTwo

    Politicos don’t need no stinkin license…dey’s “special”!

    • alreadyfedup1

      Special “ED” lol

  • oldruss

    Does FitzGerald exercise good judgment? Is he trustworthy? Is he responsible? Those are, albeit, just character traits; but character is equally important or more important than any issues.

    • oldruss

      And, every time FitzGerald drove alone in the ten years between 2002 and 2012, he was driving without insurance coverage. Even if his wife was the registered owner of the car FitzGerald was driving, and had insurance, that insurance would not have covered FitzGerald while he was driving alone with his Temporary License. And, for a majority of those ten years, FitzGerald did not have any license, temporary or otherwise. To drive on Ohio’s streets and highways without liability insurance is, in and of itself, as separate violation of the law, each time FitzGerald drove illegally.

      Maybe Attorney Anthony Giardini, chairman of the Lorain County Democratic Party, would care to let us know if the Lorain County Democratic Party approves of Ohio drivers driving without insurance?

    • oldruss

      And while we’re at it, among those “about a half-dozen” people who were in attendance at FitzGerald’s appearance at Lorain County Democratic Party Headquarters, were any of that “half-dozen” recognizable local office holders?

  • saltydog77

    Mr. FitzGerald, if you were driving this woman back to her hotel room as you stated then why was the vehicle PARKED? Now Mr. FitzGerald,would you like to try again? And this time how about the TRUTH.

  • SniperFire

    Fitzgerald wags his finger and says he did not have sex with that woman!

  • stillsleepyeyes

    FitzGerald said that he hasn’t had a moving violation since the 1990s, but that if he had, it probably would have forced him to deal with the matter.

    so once again they won’t correct anything they do wrong until their caught………….

  • castofcharacters

    Nice actions from a supposed leader. I hope people think twice about casting a vote for this man! Did he really think his past would not catch up to him? This man must think he is untouchable. When are they going to realize that their actions speak volumes to the public.

    • Beentheredonethat

      The Chappaquiddick incident comes to mind doesn’t it!

  • saltydog77

    As much as I would like to believe you Mr. FitzGerald I do not think the truth is in you. And nothing will change if you are elected to the governorship.

  • Otter

    I wonder if his wife is buying the story that “nothing improper happened with the woman.”?

    • Sis Delish

      She might, if the Price-is-Right!

      (She’s forced by Democrat Strategists to listen 24/7 to a loop recording of Tammy Wynett’s, “Stand By Yer Man”… )

      • Otter

        Along with the Hillary Clinton slide show….

  • Sis Delish

    Democratic Handlers are keeping a close watch on FitzGerald during The Gay Games in Cleveland…

  • saltydog77

    We do not expect any person seeking political office to be perfect and without fault.But we do expect you to be honest.

  • Lydia Sinclair

    He has my vote

    • SniperFire

      Did he give you a ride home from a convention or something?

      • Sis Delish

        She’s a back-seat driver…

  • Fred Garvin

    There is something strange about Edmund. I wouldn’t consider voting for this him. Nobody has a learners permit at 46 ! He’s hiding something and won’t come clean.

  • Chan

    SMH, wish he would have just came forward when the story first broke. Geesh!