GOVERNOR'S RACE Strickland won't seek nomination

The congressman isn't high on Jerry Springer's gubernatorial candidacy.
COLUMBUS -- U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland says he believes he can do more good in the U.S. Congress and says he won't seek the Democratic nomination for Ohio governor in 2006.
In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, the Lisbon Democrat said he believes he can make more of a difference dealing with federal issues such as the U.S.-led military conflict in Iraq and President Bush's proposal to revamp Social Security.
"We are at a national crossroads," Strickland, D-6th, said.
While he said his intention is to seek re-election to his congressional district that runs along the eastern border of Ohio from Lucasville to the suburbs of Youngstown, the 63-year-old Strickland said he wouldn't rule out seeking the U.S. Senate seat from Ohio.
The six-year term of U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, is up in 2006.
Strickland, in his sixth two-year term in Congress, said he didn't make his decision lightly.
"Over the last year, I have conferred with every politician within our party," Strickland said.
'First choice'
With other potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates remaining, Strickland said his "first choice" would be fellow U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Lorain Democrat who said in a telephone interview Tuesday he was mulling possibly running for either governor or for U.S. Senate from Ohio in 2006. Brown, in his seventh term in Congress and a former Ohio Secretary of State and state lawmaker, said he won't make a decision on his political future for several months.
Strickland said he has respect for other potential Democratic candidates who have been mentioned such as Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman and Akron Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic.
"I think there are a number of potential candidates," Strickland said.
"I believe a Democrat will be elected governor in '06," Strickland said.
"I just think there's going to be unrest," he said, noting the GOP's dominance of state government. Republicans control every nonjudicial statewide office; have commanding majorities in both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate and have a 6 to 1 dominance over Democrats on the Ohio Supreme Court.
Strickland didn't have encouraging words for controversial talk show host Jerry Springer, another potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate, saying he didn't believe Springer would be the Democrats "strongest or best" candidate in 2006.
Springer spokesman Dale Butland said simply: "Congressman Strickland is certainly entitled to his opinion."
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Dennis L. White said he respects Strickland's decision.
"It's a decision that an individual like Ted has to make," said White, who said Strickland called him late Monday with his decision. "I have to respect Ted for that decision."
GOP officials to run
On the GOP side, current Gov. Bob Taft, in the last two years of his second and final four-year term, is prevented by state term limits from seeking re-election.
Meanwhile three GOP statewide officials, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, State Auditor Betty D. Montgomery and State Attorney General Jim Petro, have announced their intentions to run for governor in 2006.
Candidates for statewide office next year won't have to file nominating petitions until early in 2006, according to the secretary of state's office.

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