Whaley quits gubernatorial race and endorses Cordray


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley announced she was quitting the Democratic primary for governor and throwing her support behind Richard Cordray.

While Whaley withdrew Friday and ex-U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton got out of the race Wednesday to be Cordray’s running mate, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni said he is committed to running for governor.

He also criticized Cordray, a former state attorney general and treasurer, as a Democratic candidate who can’t win the governor’s race, and Whaley for endorsing him.

“I’m not in this for my career – I’m in it to make life better for Ohio families,” Schiavoni, of Boardman, D-33rd, said Friday. “That means I can’t be bought or pressured into taking the easy path. The reality is that Rich Cordray can’t win back voters we lost in 2016. He hasn’t been in Ohio, and people will see he doesn’t have any real plans. I’m going to make my case to Ohio voters. They should decide what’s best for their state.”

Schiavoni added: “Nan Whaley is a good person who ran an energetic campaign that was inspiring to young people, women and voters across the state. I consider her a friend. That’s why it’s extremely disappointing to see her endorse the ‘anointed’ ticket. This approach is why Democrats have been losing.”

With Whaley’s departure and Sutton’s withdrawal, the remaining Democratic candidates for governor are Cordray, Schiavoni, ex-state Rep. Connie Pillich and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill. Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich is expected Wednesday to announce his candidacy for governor.

Whaley said Friday: “I got in this race because I truly believe that Ohio is at a critical moment in time, and our state needs to move forward in bold, new ways. The GOP has been recycling bad ideas in Columbus for 25 years, and it’s time for a better future.”

As for why she’s backing Cordray, she said, “Our state needs progressive and innovative leaders at the helm. Rich is a champion for everyday people who has stood up to the big banks, payday lenders and special interests.”

Pillich also had sharp words regarding Whaley’s decision.

“I continue to believe Ohio’s voters deserve a spirited campaign and not a coronation,” she said.

Pillich added: “I hear from armchair pundits and the old boys club that Ohio is not ready to elect a woman as our next governor. To them I say simply: ‘Watch us.’”

On the Republican side, the only governor candidates left are Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. Secretary of State Jon Husted withdrew in November to be DeWine’s running mate, and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci announced Thursday he would instead run for the U.S. Senate.

The governor’s seat is held by Republican John Kasich, who is term limited.

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