Whaley leaves governor race, endorses Cordray

Marty Schladen The Columbus Dispatch

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley dropped her bid Friday for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, instead endorsing Richard Cordray, the former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

With former Congressman Dennis Kucinich expected to join the race next week, that will leave five Democrats seeking the nomination. The winner will face one of two Republicans — Attorney General Mike DeWine or Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

In an appearance with Cordray at the Dayton Public Library, Whaley said she would continue to train her fire on a Republican-controlled Statehouse that she believes has abandoned average Ohioans by slashing funds to local communities and through other shortcomings.

“As mayor of Dayton, I‘ve seen firsthand how the Statehouse crowd has turned its back on Ohio communities,” Whaley said.

Cordray praised Whaley, calling her endorsement “a high-minded and generous act.”

Cordray earlier this week teamed up with former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, who also dropped her bid for governor. That leaves state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, former Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich of the Cincinnati area, Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O‘Neill of Chagrin Falls and, presumably, Kucinich, also seeking the Democratic nod.

Schiavoni released a statement praising Sutton, but saying Cordray is not the right candidate.

“Nan Whaley is a good person who ran an energetic campaign that was inspiring to young people, women, and voters across the state. I consider her a friend,” he said. “That‘s why it‘s extremely disappointing to see her endorse the ‘anointed‘ ticket. This approach is why Democrats have been losing.

He added, “The reality is that Rich Cordray can’t win back voters we lost in 2016. He hasn‘t been in Ohio, and people will see he doesn‘t have any real plans. I‘m going to make my case to Ohio voters. They should decide what’s best for their state.”

Pillich, the only woman in either party still running for governor, on Thursday released a statement that also lauded Whaley, but made an implied slam on Cordray.

“When I joined the US Air Force, many people told me a woman couldn‘t make it in the military,” she said. “They told me I wouldn‘t be able to get my MBA at night while on active duty or make it through law school as a young mother with two small children. But I did all of those things. Today, I hear from armchair pundits and the old boys club that Ohio is not ready to elect a woman as our next governor. To them I say simply: watch us.”


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