Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald, who’s traveled the state attempting to shore up support for a 2014 gubernatorial bid, will formally announce his candidacy for the job today.
FitzGerald, a Democrat, will stop today in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati “to make a major announcement regarding his decision to run for Ohio governor,” according to a statement from his campaign.
FitzGerald’s strong interest in running for governor has hardly been a secret during his visits throughout the state, including several to the Mahoning Valley. He’s hired a campaign staff and started raising money last month for a run.
Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras said FitzGerald, serving his first term as Cuyahoga County executive, called him over the weekend to confirm he was running for governor.
“He saidthe Valley will be important in his campaign, and he’ll be in the Valley several times,” Betras said. “He’s obviously going to run, and I’m obviously going to support him.”
Also, FitzGerald, a former Lakewood mayor and FBI agent, is expected to make a Friday campaign stop in the Youngstown area.
While FitzGerald has been campaigning for about a year, his path to being the leading Democrat for the gubernatorial position came into focus in recent months. That’s because notable Democrats — including former Gov. Ted Strickland, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, and ex-U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton — have all decided not to seek the position.
Richard Cordray, the state’s former attorney general and treasurer who heads the president’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, had expressed interest in running for governor. But he’s made no announcement to date.
Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, is seeking re-election next year.
Republicans are trying to link FitzGerald to a major public-corruption scandal in his home county.
No charges were filed against him, and the main federal prosecutor in the investigation has said FitzGerald is not being investigated.