Two Republicans, six Democrats and one Green Party candidate are campaigning to replace term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich as the May 8 primary election inches closer.
From the Democratic party, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, former U.S. Rep. and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, Ohio Sen. Joe Schiavoni, Alliance resident Paul Ray and Trotwood resident Larry Ealy are running against one other.
On the Republican side, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will run against Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.
Constance Gadell-Newton is the only candidate running for governor from the Green Party.
The national spotlight is on Ohio because of the race’s high profile and the competitiveness that Ohio has as a swing state. This gubernatorial race is one of the numerous elections happening throughout the U.S.
One of Republicans’ two choices for Ohio’s governor is Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his running mate, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. DeWine has served in state and federal governments for more than 30 years as an Ohio senator, a U.S. representative, Ohio lieutenant governor, a U.S. senator and now as Ohio’s attorney general.
“Mike DeWine has been running for elected office since before my parents could vote,” Stephanie Dodd, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, said.
DeWine’s campaign has focused on ending the opioid epidemic, improving early childhood education and holding an •anti-abortion stance.
“I love Ohio and run for governor because I can make a difference,” DeWine said in an email. "We have kids growing up in this state who are simply not living up to their God-given potential. We have an opportunity to change that — to change lives — and we must seize that opportunity."
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor is the second Republican candidate for governor. With her running mate, Nathan Estruth, Taylor seeks to succeed her 2010 and 2014 running mate, Kasich, as Ohio’s governor. Taylor was previously elected as a state representative for Ohio’s 43rd district and as Ohio auditor.
Taylor and Estruth’s platform stresses issues such as protecting the Second Amendment, creating strict immigration reform, promoting health care reform and solving the opioid crisis.
Taylor did not respond to a request for an interview.
Ohio Sen. Joe Schiavoni and his running mate, Stephanie Dodd, were the first Democrats to officially announce their candidacy for Ohio governor March 1. Schiavoni, one of the two candidates who graduated from Ohio University, has been a state senator for Ohio since 2008 and has held leadership positions in the Ohio Senate, including minority leader and assistant minority whip.
“Joe and I are in touch with what is happening across the state, whereas I feel like a lot of the other candidates in the race, who are good people, don’t always know what is happening in Ohio,” Dodd, a member of Ohio’s Board of Education, said.
Schiavoni and Dodd are campaigning on issues such as creating jobs, raising the minimum wage, prioritizing education and school safety reform, fighting the opioid epidemic and protecting workers' rights.
Richard Cordray, the former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Ohio under former President Barack Obama, is another of the candidates running for the Democratic nomination. Before being chosen to be the first director of the consumer bureau, Cordray was elected to the offices of Ohio’s treasurer and attorney general before losing to DeWine in 2010. Cordray chose former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton to be his running mate after she withdrew from the governor’s race.
Cordray's platform looks to focus on issues such as Ohio’s opioid crisis, small business, health care, clean energy, gun law reform and free community college.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill and his running mate, Cleveland Public Schools Principal Chantelle Lewis, are on another Democratic ticket campaigning to be Ohio’s next governor and lieutenant governor. O’Neill, another graduate of OU, is a registered nurse and a retired lieutenant colonel, former court of appeals judge and, most recently, an associate justice on the Ohio Supreme Court.
“I literally describe it as the best job in Ohio,” O’Neill said. "I can say with certainty there are no boring days on the Supreme Court of Ohio."
The issues that O’Neill wants to focus on in his campaign include legalizing marijuana, fighting the opioid crisis, treating addiction through mental health programs, mandating solar panels on government buildings, increasing the minimum wage and reducing the cost of four-year colleges.
“It was a calling that I could not ignore,” O’Neill said. "I simply can't walk away from the reality that 5,000 people a year are dying from heroin overdoses. The problem is not being addressed appropriately."
Former U.S. congressman and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich and his running mate, Akron City Councilwoman Tara L. Samples, make up another Democratic ticket running for Ohio’s highest office. Kucinich ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president in 2004 and 2008 and has significant name recognition in both Ohio and the U.S.
Kucinich and Samples are running on a platform that focuses on women’s rights, criminal justice reform, infrastructure and public transportation.
Larry Ealy, a former exotic dancer from Trotwood, and Paul Ray, of Alliance, are also running. Neither candidate has platform information online.
Cordray, Kucinich, Ealy and Ray did not respond to requests for interviews.
Constance Gadell-Newton and her running mate, Brett Joseph, are the only ticket running to be nominated from Ohio’s Green Party. A former co-chair of the Ohio Green Party, Gadell-Newton is an attorney and guardian ad litem in private practice in the Franklin County Courts.
Gadell-Newton’s campaign is focused on issues such as promoting grassroots democracy, ending partisan gerrymandering and voter suppression, supporting tax reform and health care reform, increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, decriminalizing marijuana, supporting renewable energy and protecting the environment.
Gadell-Newton did not respond to a request for an interview.