Former Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland has announced that he will not run for the governor's office in 2014.
Strickland said that he will continue to be politically active as a private citizen.
He also said he will work to defeat "anti-worker and anti-middle class legislation that may arise."
“In many ways, this has been a very difficult decision. I look back fondly on my time as Ohio’s 68th Governor –and am proud of my Administration’s efforts to guide our state through the greatest national economic crisis since the Great Depression," Strickland said in the new release.
Strickland was defeated by Gov. John Kasich in 2010 by about 77,000 votes, or 49 percent to 47 percent.
Strickland's decision so early in the year allows lesser known Democratic candidates to start campaigning and raising campaign funds.
Former Ohio Attorney General and state Treasurer Richard Cordray and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald are often mentioned as likely Democratic gubernatorial candidates.
Cordray told Capitol Square moderator Jim Heath last year that he “would be interested” in running for governor in 2014. “You always expect a tough matchup in Ohio and that doesn’t discourage me in any way,” Cordray said at the time.
Cordray lost a close race for reelection as Attorney General to Mike DeWine in 2010. His appointment by president Obama to head a new federal consumer agency will end later this year. His office had no comment on the Strickland announcement on Tuesday.
Former Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Dave Leland speculates Cordray will likely will make a decision in the next few months whether he wants to run for governor.
He called Strickland’s decision “disappointing.”
“Obviously, he would have been the leading candidate and would have kept anyone else out fo the race had he decided to run, but he’s done that and he’s been our standard bearer before, and I think it’s time for somebody else.”
Strickland did not say whether he felt he could defeat Kasich in a rematch. There have been rumors for months that Strickland would be appointed to serve in the Obama administration.
Kasich, through his spokesman Rob Nichols, told 10TV News that Kasich would be comfortable holding up his record of how Ohio has gotten back on track when the time comes for the election.
Ohio Republican Party Executive Director Matt Borges said he was not surprised by Strickland’s decision. “Obviously we have a governor who is doing a remarkable job. As a Party, you’re only as good as the candidates and office holders you’re supporting, and governor Kasich makes it easy,” Borges said.
Strickland defended his four years in office by saying, "I believe my Administration stood and spoke for the causes that count."
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