Canton Repository

May 10, 2005

Strickland confirms run for governor

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON — Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Lisbon, joined the race for Ohio governor Monday, reversing an earlier announcement that he would not seek the post.

“Our great state is in desperate need of change,” he said, blaming Republican control of state government for the state’s problems. “Like many Ohioans, I see a state that has lost its way. The current Republican administration has failed to lead us.”

If elected, the six-term congressman from Appalachia would become the first Democratic governor since 1990. Gov. Bob Taft cannot seek a third term next year because of term limits.

Strickland ruled out a bid for governor last January, when he said he lacked a “burning desire” for the race. Since then, he said, “I have been besieged by people asking me to reconsider.”

Although he is not well-known statewide, Strickland expressed confidence he can build support and raise enough money to be a credible candidate.

“This is not a Don Quixote kind of effort,” he said. “I am confident that I can win this election.”

Strickland, 64, said he has more than $500,000 in a congressional campaign fund, but he does not believe the law would permit him to spend that money on a state campaign.

As governor, he said he would stake out a vision for the state. “The connection between education and a healthy economy is integral,” he said.

While in Congress, the former prison psychologist has compiled a moderate to liberal record. He voted against the North American Free Trade Agreement, and has opposed gun control and certain late-term abortions.

Until Strickland’s entry into the race, the only candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor was Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman. Television personality Jerry Springer is among several others who could join the race.

Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Lorain, a former Ohio secretary of state, announced last week he would not run for governor. Earlier this year, Strickland pledged to support Brown if he ran. Brown has not discussed whether he will endorse anyone in the Democratic primary, a spokeswoman said.

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, Attorney General Jim Petro and Auditor Betty Montgomery are vying for the GOP nomination.

During a conference call with reporters, Strickland said he is unsure whether the state should legalize gambling. But he said a “great state should not depend upon gambling (revenue) to meet the basic needs of its citizens.”