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Gov. Kasich compromised in Cleveland as Mayor Jackson endorses Ed FitzGerald

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In the 2010 Ohio election for governor in Cuyahoga County, the state's most populous county located on the shores of Lake Erie that historically represents a rich source of votes for Democrats, former Lehman Brother's banker John Kasich received 102,640 fewer votes than did his Great Recession-battered incumbent Governor of the time, Democrat Ted Strickland.

Kasich, who ended up being the victor by a mere 77,127 votes statewide, in what was a low turnout election four years ago this fall, had his chances of winning the county this year further compromised Thursday, when reelected Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, a Democrat, stood on the frigid steps on City Hall to endorse Kasich's Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald.

A former FBI agent and Mayor of nearby Lakewood who rose to the rank of Cuyahoga County Executive in the wake of a scandal involving county government that led legislators to restructure it, FitzGerald is little known outside northeast Ohio. Adding to his uphill struggle to unseat Gov. Kasich this fall was his campaign's trip on the starting line last fall, when his first pick as ticket running mate bowed out after tax problems he and his wife shared, that reporters fixated on to the glee of Kasich supporters, became too heavy a burden to continue.

"I've had the opportunity to watch him real close over the last few years," Jackson said, adding, "He has taken the helm of a county that was in great turmoil and done it in a way that has restored credibility."

The Ohio Republican Party, the default spokesman for Gov. Kasich until his campaign spokesteam is fully in place to engage in both offense and defense, questioned why it took so long for a Democrat like Jackson to endorse a fellow and local Democrat like FitzGerald

"When a Democrat in Cleveland endorses another Democrat in Cleveland the only question is, 'What took so long?' The truth is that the governor and Mayor Jackson have a great relationship and a shared commitment to Cleveland that's bigger than partisan politics," Schrimpf said, according to a published report. "They've worked closely together on local school reform, the Opportunity Corridor, the lakefront parks and the mayor's vision for the West Shoreway, and that working relationship isn't going to change."

In normal elections, if a Democratic candidate wins big up north, it means nullification of votes in 70 or more rural Republican counties. In 2010, three other third-party candidates collectively won 14,923 votes, which represents about 19 percent of Kasich's slim win margin over Strickland.

In the mean time, FitzGerald said he'll make his second pick for Lt. Governor known soon. Given the quick and negative fate of his first pick, State Sen. Eric Kearney, his pick this time will be important to whether his campaign can shed its woes from last November or whether it will snake-bitten going forward.

Whomever it is, the candidate must first be unimpeachable, and if the candidate is exciting enough to offset FitzGerald's innate lack of chutzpah, so much the better.

Yesterday in Columbus, Gov. Kasich was center stage at the Statehouse where he and other politicians announced Ohio voters would be given a fourth opportunity to reauthorize bonds whose revenues will pay for local public works projects including roads, bridges, water and sewer systems.

Next week in Medina, Gov. Kasich will conduct his fourth State of the State address, which promises to be another gala event at which he'll trumpet his accomplishments in the face of challenges few other politicians could surmount.

The chief executive's penchant for showmanship, hones over decades in Congress, where he represented a reliably Republican district in suburban Columbus, will again be on full display as he pays tribute to retiring House Speaker William Batchelder, who has been a personal and political confidant to a governor who, without his help, would have found himself facing local headwinds instead of having the legislative wind at his back for his three-plus years in office.

The news article Gov. Kasich compromised in Cleveland as Mayor Jackson endorses Ed FitzGerald appeared first on Columbus Government Examiner.

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