Ex-U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton says she’ll run next year for governor


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Former three-term U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Summit County became the second Democrat to officially announce her candidacy for governor.

“I have spent my whole life fighting for working families and against unfair trade policies,” Sutton told The Vindicator. “I’m very excited to announce that I’m going to try to continue doing that in the governor’s office.”

Sutton has been considering a 2018 gubernatorial bid for months. After U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said last week he wouldn’t seek the governor’s position, Sutton announced she’d have a decision this week.

She joins Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, as the only announced Democratic candidates for governor in 2018.

Sutton said she isn’t concerning herself right now with a primary and is focusing on her candidacy and experience.

In 2013, then-President Barack Obama appointed Sutton as administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., a position she had until January. In the post, she led U.S. operations of the international waterway.

Sutton is the first Democratic woman in Ohio to serve as a legislator at the local, county, state and federal levels.

She is a former Barberton city councilwoman, Summit County councilwoman, Ohio House member and U.S. House member.

Sutton of Copley served six years in the U.S. House, losing to Rep. Jim Renacci, a Republican from Wadsworth, in the 16th District in 2012.

That year, Republicans redistricted the state’s congressional map making the 16th a Republican district. Renacci beat Sutton by 4 percentage points.

Renacci also is giving strong consideration to running next year as a Republican for governor.

Other Republicans planning to run, but haven’t yet officially announced, include Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

Other potential Democratic candidates for governor include Richard Cordray, a former attorney general and state treasurer who is director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; ex-state Rep. Connie Pillich, the unsuccessful 2014 state treasurer candidate; ex-Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, the former head of the U.S. Economic Development Administration; Ohio Supreme Court Justice William M. O’Neill; Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune; and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

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