Pillich out, backs Cordray for governor
Attorney says it’s time for unity in Democratic Party.
— Former state COLUMBUS
Rep. Connie Pillich — the only woman in the Democratic field for governor — abandoned her campaign Wednesday and endorsed former state Attorney General Rich Cordray.
Pillich said in a tweet: “It’s time to put our differences aside and unite as Democrats and as Ohioans.”
Pillich, of Cincinnati, is an attorney and Air Force veteran who lost a statewide race for treasurer against Republican Josh Mandel in 2014. In her run for governor, she reported $911,656 in campaign cash on hand — a little less than half of the $2 million the Cordray campaign reported.
Cordray, of Grove City, resigned as head of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in November so he could return to Ohio for the governor’s race.
Pillach’s departure leaves a Democratic field that includes Cordray, former Ohio Supreme Court justice Bill O’Neill; former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman; and three candidates with little political experience: Cleveland Clinic physician Jon Heavey, political newcomer Paul E. Ray, and former Dayton male stripper and tow truck driver Larry Ealy.
Election officials expect to certify the petitions for governor by Wednesday.
Pillich had been the last woman leading a ticket remaining in the Democratic primary. Former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton dropped her governor’s bid and joined Cordray’s ticket as his running mate.
The other woman in the race, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, also dropped out and backed Cordray.
In the Republican primary, Attorney General Mike DeWine is facing off against Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.
DeWine won the backing from the Ohio Republican Party state central committee, over strenuous objections from Taylor.