Gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray isn't looking for state Democrats to endorse in his race


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By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Richard Cordray, the pre- sumed frontrunner in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, said he isn’t looking for the state party to endorse in the race.

“I have not sought an endorsement,” he told The Vindicator on Friday. “The party just went through this with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, and it caused a lot of hard feelings. I don’t want to push for that endorsement.”

Cordray, a former state treasurer and attorney general, is running in the May 8 primary against state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, ex-U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill.

“There’s something about an open primary where everybody is competing,” Cordray said. “The voters are getting a chance to see all of the candidates and hear from them. To me, that has a real appeal.”

O’Neill has called Cordray “Prince Richard” and accused the Ohio Democratic Party of “trying to rig this election” in favor of Cordray. Cordray says that is not true.

Cordray has also received criticism from the Republican Governors Association for the same issue despite the Ohio Republican Party endorsing in its primary, choosing Attorney General Mike DeWine over Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

“The RGA is not a very credible organization,” Cordray said. “They are full of hypocrisy. They overstate everything to an almost childlike level.”

He added the group has targeted him for more than a year.

“I don’t pay much attention to them, but they pay a lot of attention to me,” Cordray said. “Maybe that’s a compliment.”

Cordray also said he was pleased with the outcome of Wednesday’s Democratic gubernatorial debate in Toledo.

“I thought the debate went well,” he said. “When everyone’s attacking you, it means you’re winning.”

He said the Democratic debate “highlights a contrast with Republicans who are having zero debates. Mary Taylor would debate every day if she could while Mike DeWine doesn’t want to do that. The contrast is pretty clear between an open and voter-friendly approach and a closed ‘We don’t need the voters to know anything, we’ll decide everything ourselves’ approach.”

Cordray said he expects DeWine to be the Republican nominee. DeWine beat Cordray in 2010 by about 1 percentage point for attorney general when the latter was the incumbent in a bad year for Democrats.

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