On Tuesday, March 1, 2017, Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Youngstown) announced his intent to run for office in the 2018 Ohio gubernatorial race, the first Democrat to officially do so. The position will become vacant with incumbent Gov. John Kasich being at the end of his second and final term in office.
With U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, who vied with Nancy Pelosi for the House Minority Leader position, having announced he will not seek the office of governor in Ohio, the field is left wide open on the Democrat’s side of the race.
Just who Schiavoni will face as opponents for his party’s nomination for governor is yet unclear. Had Tim Ryan decided to run for governor, he’d have likely been the outstanding candidate for the Ohio Democrats who currently hold one-third of the seats in the state’s House of Representatives and nine of the 33 seats in the Ohio Senate.
Schiavoni, who has spent much of the previous year canvassing Ohio to increase both his familiarity with the people and issues in multiple areas – and people’s familiarity with him – may face stiff competition if former U.S. Representative Betty Sutton (D-Copley) declares her own candidacy as the Democrat’s gubernatorial candidate, something that sounded like a possibility following Ryan’s announcement on February 28, 2017, of his decision not to seek the office.
In the meantime, on the Republican side of the aisle, four current Ohio officeholders have made it known they are interested in filling the incumbent Kasich’s seat. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, U.S. Rep. John Renacci and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. Taylor may have a leg up on the other potential GOP gubernatorial candidates if she decides to run for the office; Gov. John Kasich announced on February 9, 2017, that he’ll back Taylor in her bid for the governorship. Taylor announced her candidacy for the office on February 23, 2017.
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