COLUMBUS — Youngstown area Sen. Joe Schiavoni today became the first Democrat to throw his hat in the ring for Ohio governor in 2018.
He conceded up front that he won’t be the “anointed candidate” of the Democratic Party.
“But I am a fighter, the fighter that Ohio needs,” he said in his announcement. “I will work harder than anyone, visit every part of the state, and meet with every Ohioan I can until I win. Once elected, I will get to work giving all Ohioans the new leadership they are asking for and they deserve.”
His announcement came after another high-profile Youngstown area name, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Niles), took himself out of the discussion of whom Democrats will offer to replace Republican Gov. John Kasich in two years.
Richard Cordray, the top federal consumer watchdog appointed by President Obama, is among the names continued to be discussed, although he’s forbidden from talking about it himself in his current role.
Former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill, both from northeast Ohio, have also been talking about a move.
Meanwhile, high-profile Republicans are expected to be practically falling over one another. Mr. Kasich’s lieutenant governor, Mary Taylor, has already officially announced her candidacy while Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted are expected to eventually do the same.
U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, of Wadsworth, who beat Ms. Sutton in a redistricting-created congressional runoff in 2012, is also thinking about it.
“After seven years of Republican control, we still don’t have the high-paying jobs that places like Youngstown, Toledo, and the Ohio Valley so desperately need,” Mr. Schiavoni said. “Our roads and bridges are falling apart. Our public education system is woefully underfunded.
“Ohio’s opioid epidemic continues to plague our communities,” he said. “Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans give hundreds of millions of dollars to failing charter schools and billions in income tax cuts to the very rich.”
Mr. Schiavoni is currently the leader of Senate Democrats, a small club these days with just nine members after losing a southeast Ohio seat last November. He said he represents “the new generation of leadership” needed to address the state’s problems.
In 2014, Democrats got behind then-Cuyahoga County Chief Executive Ed FitzGerald, only to see the campaign careen off course. Mr. Kasich easily won re-reelection with nearly 64 percent of the vote.
Originally published in the Toledo Blade.