The slate is now set for voters to decide who they want as the next governor of Ohio. The filing deadline came down to the wire for some candidates. And it’s shaping up to be two tough primaries, and for the Democrats a crowded one, too.
One by one, the elevator doors at the secretary of state’s office open up to reveal another candidate filing to run for governor. While this is a routine step in the campaign trail, the candidates, 11 altogether, varied in their approach.
Democratic candidate Rich Cordray was more subdued, with just a few staff on hand, while fellow party candidate and former Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill was signing off on some last-minute signatures.
And then there was Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich, who turned the administrative affair into a mini campaign rally with supporters on hand to cheer him on.
“We already have thousands of volunteers wait until people find out we’ve filed look out Ohio cause we’re ready to change the state government, get rid of the corruption and make government work for the peoplem,” Kucinich said.
Nine people in total filed to run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
Cordray says he isn’t worried about a tough primary.
“I don’t think a primary is a bad thing. I think you have to embrace it and make it work for you which is to get our name out, get our issues out and help people understand what we stand for," Cordray said.
O’Neill wants to make it clear to voters that a vote for him means a vote for legalized marijuana.
“Marijuana sales are going on probably less than a quarter mile from where you and I are standing right now but there’s no tax revenue being generated," he said. "I'm saying that if you vote for O’Neill you’re voting for legalization of marijuana. If you’re voting for legalization of marijuana, then you’re voting for $500 million in new sales taxes."
Former state Rep. Connie Pillich had her running mate, Scott Schertzer, file their paperwork. He says their campaign will focus on restoring power and funding to local governments.
“When you cut our local government funding, you’re cutting into our police and fire and our safety forces and that’s when people back home really start to realize what the local government fund cuts actually mean to them and their cities,” Schertzer said.
State Sen. Schiavoni acknowledges that his campaign trails his fellow contenders in fundraising.
“They have a lot more money than I have but they do not have the relationships and the connections that I have with the everyday Ohioan that I have," Schiavoni said. "They don’t have the ability to relate to people, real people, like I do. That to me is more powerful."
Other candidates for the Democratic nomination are political newcomers Jon Heavey and Paul Ray, and Larry Ealy, who lost the Democratic primary for governor in 2014.
The Republican primary is a different story with just two candidates, Mary Taylor and Mike DeWine.
Now the lieutenant governor, Taylor has served as a statewide officeholder since 2006. But she says she’s still the outside, non-establishment candidate given DeWine’s decades in office.
“Americans and Ohioans in this case are looking for a non-status quo candidate, somebody who’s going to shake things up and get things done," Taylor said. "If it was all about name ID and/or money Jeb Bush would’ve been the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton would be our president today."
DeWine’s campaign sent his running mate Jon Husted to hand in the paperwork and only invited a few print reporters to the event.
Constance Gadell-Newton filed as the Green Party candidate last week. The contenders now have three months to rally support before May’s primary election.