By: Gigi Protasiewicz
On November 4, Ohioans will go to the polls and vote for the next governor. The current Republican governor, John Kasich, is running against Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald (and a Green Party candidate, Anita Rios). John Kasich, whose running mate is Mary Taylor, is running for his second term after becoming governor in 2010 by defeating Ted Strickland. Before being elected as governor, he previously was a congressman and worked at Lehman Brothers. Also, at age 26, he was the youngest person elected to the Ohio State Senate. During his term, the unemployment rate in Ohio has gone down and new jobs were created. However, he has lost popularity with some of his base, including the Tea Party voters who supported him in the 2010 election, because of his increased spending, acceptance of Medicaid expansion, and taxation of fracking. However, his campaign has been aided by the many scandals that have emerged surrounding Ed FitzGerald.
Ed FitzGerald (running with Sharen Neuhardt) has served as Cuyahoga County Executive since 2011, when the position was first established. Before that, he had been the mayor of Lakewood, Ohio, and was a member of the FBI for three years. His ideas on major issues generally oppose those of Kasich, and FitzGerald has been endorsed by Senator Sherrod Brown and the former governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland. However, FitzGerlad has suffered because of various controversies. In November of 2013, he had to choose a new running mate when his original choice, Eric Kearney, stepped down because it was revealed that he and his wife owed almost $1 million in taxes. On August 1st, an incident prompting widespread rumors of infidelity became public, and later it was also made known that FitzGerald had been driving for ten years without valid driver’s license. These scandals have hurt FitzGerald’s chances of being elected, as many voters (of both parties) are simply unwilling to cast their ballots for someone with such a tarnished reputation.
Currently, polls show that Kasich is in the lead by a slight margin, and he is expected to win the election in November.