By Marc Kovac
The last Democratic governor of the state has officially endorsed the man who wants to become Ohio’s next Democratic governor.
Ted Strickland, who lost his re-election bid to Republican John Kasich, told reporters during a morning conference call Monday that Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is the right person for the job.
“I know Ed,” Strickland said. “I like him personally, and I think he’s just a good human being, a talented individual and he’s a proven leader for the middle class.”
He added, “Over the next weeks and months, I’m going to be doing everything that I can personally to see that Ed FitzGerald is elected as Ohio’s next governor.”
Strikland fell more than 77,000 votes shy of a second term, losing to Kasich after a state and national economic downturn called the worst since the days of the Great Depression.
Republicans quickly picked up on the latter following Strickland’s announcement Monday.
“With today’s endorsement Ted Strickland says that Ed FitzGerald is the best candidate to carry on his legacy of job loss, record high unemployment, and a budget shortfall of billions of dollars,” Ohio Republican Party spokesman Chris Schrimpf said in a released statement.
But Strickland countered that the economic recovery started during the final year of his administration, and job creation is now lagging in Ohio under policies instituted by Kasich and a GOP-controlled state Legislature.
“Average Ohioans do not feel as if they are benefitting from what the current governor touts as the ‘Ohio Miracle,’” Strickland said. “I think Ed’s got a good story to tell, and this is not going to be an election between John Kasich and Ted Strickland. It’s going to be between John Kasich and Ed FitzGerald.”