Ohio Democratic Candidate For Governor Selects Dayton Attorney As New Running Mate

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UPDATED: Friday January 17, 2014 12:36 PM

Gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald has chosen Dayton area attorney Sharen Neuhardt as his new running mate.

In an email to supporters, FitzGerald wrote, “Together, Sharen and I will continue to fight for all families and help restore the infrastructure for Ohioans to improve their lives. We must create an environment for both business and people to thrive, and one where hard work is rewarded and individual freedom is protected.”

Neuhardt, 62, is well known in the Dayton area, having sought a congressional seat twice in recent years.

In 2012, she lost to Republican Mike Turner in the 10th congressional district by a wide margin, 60%-37%.

Four years earlier she was defeated in the 7th congressional district to Republican Steve Austria by a 58%-42% margin.

During that campaign and during a debate on 10TV Austria accused Neuhardt of housing an illegal immigrant.

According to news reports at the time, Ishema Umuhoza, a Rwandan political refugee, had lived with the Neuhardt's since 2002.  His application for political asylum had been denied.

The National Republican Congressional Committee accused Neuhardt of operating a "sanctuary city" on her farm.

Neuhardt responded by calling Republicans "cowardly" for "attacking a survivor of the Rwandan genocide for political gain."

The low-key announcement today is in contrast to highly publicized tour last November when FitzGerald announced state senator Eric Kearney to be his running mate.

Kearney withdrew from the ticket weeks later when the public learned that he was paying off nearly a million dollars in back taxes on several small businesses.

Neuhardt has been active in various political groups in the Dayton area, including service on the board of Planned Parenthood of the Greater Miami Valley.

She grew up in Northwest Dayton. Her father was a Dayton police officer and her mother was a sales clerk at Elder Beerman Northwest.

She graduated from Fairview High School in Dayton, attended Northwestern University and earned her law degree from Georgetown University.

She is a partner in the law firm Thompson Hine.

“It’s through Sharen’s life experience that she shares my commitment to bolstering the middle class and restoring economic security to Ohio’s families – and my impatience with our state’s lackluster recovery,” wrote FitzGerald.

She and her husband David have lived in Greene County since 1994.  They have two adult children, and a foster son.

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