PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County native and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said Tuesday he will not run again for governor in 2014, removing a key competitor to incumbent Republican John Kasich from the field.
Strickland said in a statement to the Associated Press Tuesday that he stands by his record of success as governor and will not seek the office again.
“My administration stood and spoke for the causes that count,” Strickland said, naming education, infrastructure and affordable health care among priorities he fought for. “In many ways, this has been a very difficult decision. I look back fondly on my time as Ohio’s 68th governor — and am proud of my administration’s efforts to guide our state through the greatest national economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
Scioto County Democratic Party Chairman Randy Basham agrees with Strickland that the national economic downturn played into his defeat in 2010.
“It’s sad that he was governor whenever the banks failed in 2008 and the economy went to shambles,” Basham said. “He was blamed for a lot of it in the 2010 re-election, but the economy is back on track again, and I think a lot of it is because of Ted’s leadership when he was in there.”
With the exit of Strickland from the race, only Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, and U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, remain as Democratic challengers to Kasich, who defeated Strickland in Strickland’s bid for a second term in 2010.
Strickland told the AP he and wife Frances “will continue to be politically active private citizens. We will continue to stand with working men and women to build a stronger Ohio — and to defeat anti-worker and anti-middle-class legislation that may arise.”
“He’s the best security blanket we have now for taking the governorship back over in 2014, and the statehouse,” Basham said.
Basham said Strickland will be missed from the political scene.
“I’m saddened by Ted not considering a run,” Basham said. “But life goes on, and I will assure you that Ted and Frances will be involved in future endeavors pertaining to the party. He has been a great one.”
Since Kasich’s taken office, a projected state budget gap of as much as $8 billion has been closed and unemployment has fallen steadily to below 7 percent.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com. Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.