Democrats, Republicans battle for Ohio’s governor seat

At the end of last year, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, surveyed the field of Democrats hoping to succeed Gov. John Kasich next year, and started thinking about jumping in the race.

“The Democratic Party had an insider pick,” Kucinich said about his Democratic primary opponent, Richard Cordray. “But the people of Ohio want fresh thinking.”

Kucinich is referring to voters in a state that gave President Trump an 8-point victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Kucinich believes a platform focused on jobs and an assault-weapons ban has the potential to win them over.

“We want to bring them back into the Democratic Party,” Kucinich said about Trump supporters. “They are people in working-class communities, I have the ability to reach them. Why? Because that’s where I’m from.”

Opposing Kucinich on the May 8 primary ballot is Cordray, the first-ever head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

They are battling to replace two-term governor John Kasich, who cannot run again because of term limits.

“We stood on the side of people and saw they were treated fairly in the marketplace,” Cordray said about his tenure at the CFPB, which has endeared him to progressives.

That job is a big part of the pitch Cordray plans to make over the next month, to contrast himself from Kucinich.

“I think we do have political differences, but I think a big difference is experience,” Cordray said.

Republicans are resume-focused in their primary fight as well.

One candidate, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, suggests in a new campaign advertisement that his primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, is “unfit” for the governor’s mansion.

“She is someone with no accomplishments,” DeWine told Fox News.

Taylor’s defense against those attacks includes an effort to cast her 16-year career in the private sector as more appealing to voters than DeWine’s decades spent in a variety of elected offices.

“We need more people in government who understand and remember what it means to create a job,” Taylor told Fox News.

Taylor and DeWine both serve in the Kasich administration, and both share a desire to keep their term-limited governor at arms-length.

“We started with conservative solutions,” Taylor, Kasich’s lieutenant governor, said. “John Kasich walked away from that conservative governance and those conservative principles.”

“I don’t think the governor is a big factor in this race at all,” according to DeWine.