Majority of state Dems endorse Whaley for governor
COLUMBUS — Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley’s newly launched campaign for governor didn’t wait long to flex its support from among Ohio Democrats, announcing endorsements Wednesday from more than half the Democrats in the state legislature.
The outpouring of support from the 23 lawmakers – 21 House members and two state senators – marks the first major wave of endorsements in next’s year Democratic primary for Ohio governor. Besides Whaley, who launched her campaign Monday, the only other major Democrat so far to publicly plan a run is Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.
Most of the lawmakers endorsing Whaley are from the Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, or Dayton areas; none of them are from Cranley’s home turf in Southwest Ohio. In addition to the list of current lawmakers, Whaley also touted endorsements from two Democratic former state representatives: Randi Clites of Ravenna and Dan Ramos of Lorain.
Overall, Democrats hold 35 of 99 Ohio House seats and eight of 33 Ohio Senate seats.
“I’m honored to have the support of so many hardworking Ohioans who are on the front lines fighting against corruption at the Statehouse and for the chance to make their communities thrive,” Whaley said. “It’s going to take all of us working together to build a better, brighter future for Ohio.”
The endorsement list does not include the two top Democratic leaders in the Ohio General Assembly – House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes of Akron and Kenny Yuko of Richmond Heights.
However, Whaley is now backed by most other members of Senate and House minority leadership, including Senate Assistant Minority Leader Nickie Antonio, Senate Minority Whip Tina Maharath, House Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs, House Minority Whip Paula Hicks-hudson, and House Assistant Minority Whip Richard Brown.
Cranley, in an interview Wednesday, acknowledged that Whaley “has a head start on these relationships.” But he added: “This is a contest of ideas. And there are a lot of people that I haven’t met yet, but I look forward to trying to earn their vote as time goes on.”
The full list of Democratic state lawmakers endorsing Whaley includes:
■ State Sen. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood
■ State Sen. Tina Maharath of suburban Columbus
■ State Rep. Willis Blackshear Jr. of Dayton
■ State Rep. Kristin Boggs of Columbus
■ State Rep. Janine Boyd of Cleveland Heights
■ State Rep. Juanita Brent of Cleveland
■ State Rep. Rich Brown of suburban Columbus
■ State Rep. Paula Hicks-hudson of Toledo
■ State Rep. Dave Leland of Columbus
■ State Rep. Michele Lepore-hagan of Youngstown
■ State Rep. Mary Lightbody of suburban Columbus
■ State Rep. Beth Liston of suburban Columbus
■ State Rep. Adam Miller of Columbus
■ State Rep. Joe Miller of Amherst
■ State Rep. Phil Robinson of Solon
■ State Rep. Allison Russo of suburban Columbus
■ State Rep. Michael Sheehy of suburban Toledo
■ State Rep. Mike Skindell of Lakewood
■ State Rep. Kent Smith of Euclid
■ State Rep. Monique Smith of Fairview Park
■ State Rep. Lisa Sobecki of Toledo
■ State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney of Cleveland
■ State Rep. Casey Weinstein of Hudson