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FitzGerald Could Tap Central Ohioans To Replace Kearney

UPDATED: Tuesday December 10, 2013 9:46 AM

While the campaign of Ed FitzGerald denies publicly that state senator Eric Kearney will be stepping down as the Lt. Governor candidate, Democratic operatives privately say the vetting process is continuing.

Kearney's business owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes to the state and federal governments totalling over $800,000.

FitzGerald recently told 10TV’s Jim Heath that he had seriously considered naming one of two candidates from central Ohio.

"We started out with a list of around 30," said FitzGerald.  "Then we started having really serious discussions about it.  We really did look at every geographic region except northeast Ohio.  It's a big state and you should have geographic diversity.  I did rule out folks from my neck of the woods.  There were a couple people seriously considered in central Ohio."

10TV has learned the two Democrats on FitzGerald's list from central Ohio are House Minority Leader Tracy Heard and Columbus City Councilman Zach Klein.

Heard, who is African American, is said to have the edge as FitzGerald attempts to solidify his Democratic base.

Democratic strategists believe Kearney could leave the ticket as early as this week.

A critical campaign fundraising report is due in January.  Some Democrats are concerned that the Kearney controversy could be hampering FitzGerald's ability to raise money.

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