Former Rep. Betty Sutton to seek 2018 Democratic nomination for Ohio governor

Posted at 6:43 PM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-07 18:43:39-05

Former Congresswoman Betty Sutton is getting back into the political arena in announcing on her website she will seek the Democratic Party nomination for Ohio Governor in 2018.

In a statement, Sutton said, "Ohio deserves a governor who is strong enough to stand up to the powerful and to rock the status quo - a governor who recognizes our potential and appreciates the strength of our diversity."

Sutton was elected to the U.S. House in 2006 filling the seat left when then Rep. Sherrod Brown ran for the U.S. Senate and defeated incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine.

"She's well known for the Cash for Clunkers program when she was in Congress which helped to restart the auto industry in the United States," said News 5 Political Analyst Tom Sutton of Baldwin-Wallace. "So I think that's one of things that she is going to use to talk about her support for teachers, for labor, for the interests of the common people," said Sutton who is no relation to the candidate.

Betty Sutton was a rising star in Democratic circles, soundly beating Republican Tom Ganley in her 2010 re-election bid but in 2012 her district boundaries were re-drawn and she ended up in a head to head showdown with Republican Jim Renacci in a new Republican-leaning district which she lost.

She considered a run for governor in 2013 but went to work for the Obama Administration as administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, a post that kept her out of politics but expired with the changing of administrations.

State Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni is the only other Democrat to announce a run. Schiavoni declared his intentions last week after Congressman Tim Ryan announced he would not seek the seat and stay in Washington. The Democratic wild card remains former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray who currently serves as the head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau created by President Obama as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street regulation bill, it's a 5-year post that doesn't expire until 2018.

"He's wanting. I think, to stay to fight for the bureau's survival knowing that if he leaves it makes it that much easier for President Trump and the Congress to close it down," said Tom Sutton. "But I think in some ways that pretty much precludes his possibility of running for governor because this thing is probably going to be stretched out well into the final dates for declaring whether you're going to run in the primary."

On the Republican side only Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor has officially announced, but others including Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Rep. Renacci are close to deciding.

"All four strong candidates and certainly I think the edge goes to DeWine but Mary Taylor's coming up rapidly in fundraising so is Husted, Renacci's probably the longer shot because he's not known statewide, he's not run statewide," Sutton said.