The Ohio gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Ed FitzGerald has "all but imploded" and party members now worry that his troubles will jeopardize the chances of other statewide Democratic candidates, The New York Times
FitzGerald's downfall came about when it was revealed that he had been driving for years without a valid license. There were also reports that police had found him in the early hours of the morning parked in a car with an unidentified woman. His initial pick of State Sen. Eric Kearney as a running mate proved unfortunate when Kearney stepped down over allegations that he owed thousands of dollars in back taxes, according to the Times.
Among those concerned about the drag at the top of the ticket is Nina Turner, the Democrats' candidate for secretary of state. "Voting from the bottom to the top: That is the way we need to roll this year," she said. Connie Pillich, an Air Force veteran, who is running for state treasurer, urged Democratic activists to canvass for every vote, the Times reported.
State government in Ohio is solidly controlled by Republicans and Democrats had been hoping to overcome incumbent Republican Gov. John Kasich whose popularity is generally below 50 percent, according to Real Clear Politics
. He lost a referendum that would have limited the power of state government employee unions. His tax-cutting policies were unpopular because they reduced state aid to localities. More recently, his backing of Medicaid expansion has softened his image. The governor has been mentioned as a possible Republican presidential contender, the Times reported.
Kasich has declined to debate FitzGerald further adding to the insurgent's difficulties. The Democratic gubernatorial nomination was largely uncontested and, as a former F.B.I. agent and county executive, FitzGerald had not been much tested on the campaign trail.
"This is the last thing you want, to be limping into an election at the top of the ticket," said Democratic Minority Leader State Sen. Joe Schiavoni.
Kasich leads FitzGerald by 18 points, according to a Real Clear Politics average of polls.
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