Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland won’t be seeking a rematch in 2014 against Republican incumbent John Kasich, who beat him in 2010 in a close election.
His decision clears the way for a number of other potential Democratic candidates to enter the race for governor, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer
. Most had indicated they would not challenge Strickland for the party nomination if he decided to run again.
In a statement issued through the state Democratic Party, Strickland said his decision not to run was difficult, but he did not indicate exactly why.
Strickland had hinted strongly at the Democratic National Convention last year that he might take on Kasich in the 2014 race, despite the fact that other prominent Democrats, including Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald and former state Attorney General Richard Cordray, are interested in running.
Neither has formally announced the formation of a campaign. But according to the Plain Dealer, Strickland called Fitzgerald to inform him of his decision. Democrats had said FitzGerald did not want to challenge Strickland, who remains popular within the party.
Other Democrats mentioned as potential gubernatorial contenders include U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, former Rep. Betty Sutton, and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.
Any campaign against Kasich is expected to be difficult. His popularity has increased over time and in a Quinnipiac University poll a plurality of voters gave him a good job performance rating. But at the same time, a plurality of voters said they don't necessarily support his re-election, a situation that Democrats believe leaves him vulnerable.
The Quinnipiac poll also indicated that Strickland would be the best candidate to challenge Kasich because voters were largely unfamiliar with the other potential Democratic contenders.
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