Pil­lich out, backs Cor­dray for gov­er­nor

At­tor­ney says it’s time for unity in Demo­cratic Party.

Dayton Daily News - - LOCAL & STATE - By Laura A. Bischoff Con­tact this re­porter at 614224-1624 or email Laura. Bischoff@cox­inc.com.

— 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.

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