CLEVELAND, Ohio -- U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan's decision to pass on a run for Ohio governor clears the way for other Democrats to launch campaigns in earnest.
Ohio Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, who like Ryan is from the Youngstown area, told cleveland.com Tuesday that he plans to announce his 2018 bid Wednesday.
"I've been putting in the work and will continue to put in the work," Schiavoni, 37, said in a telephone interview. "I'm not dancing around this."
Former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Copley also reacted quickly to the news.
"Congressman Tim Ryan is an extremely important leader and voice for us in Congress, our state , our party and nation," Sutton, who recently left her federal post running the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said via email.
"I was honored to work with him in Congress and can understand why he gave serious consideration to running statewide. Though he decided not to run for Governor, it is heartening to know that working families will continue to have a strong and effective champion fighting for us in Congress. I am giving serious thought to a run for Governor and will have an announcement next week."
Schiavoni and Sutton, 53, are among the most aggressive Democrats in a potentially crowded field. Schiavoni spent much of the last year traveling the state, attending party dinners and meeting activists who could be helpful. Sutton's federal job prevented her from engaging in partisan politics, but party insiders say she began laying the groundwork for a campaign soon after returning to Ohio last month.
Democratic sources believe Ryan's decision also could lure Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley into the race. She is up for re-election this year but is well-respected in the party.
While Ryan has brought some clarity to a muddled field, there remain as many as dozen other possible candidates and one big question mark in Richard Cordray. The former Ohio attorney general now serves as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington. Many Democrats believe he would be the party's strongest contender for governor. But Cordray is stuck in limbo.
President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress seem eager to remove him from the position or weaken the agency's power. Until these tensions are resolved, it's not likely Cordray would return home and enter the race. In the meantime, his allies have been running an unofficial shadow campaign.
On the Republican side, Gov. John Kasich is term-limited. Four high-profile GOP officeholders are positioning themselves as his successor: Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.
See a rundown of other possible Democratic candidates in the video below.
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