Kucinich set to enter Democratic governor's race next week as Nan Whaley appears close to exit

CLEVELAND - In a letter to supporters, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich said he is planning to formally enter the Democratic race for Ohio governor Wednesday, Jan. 17 at a rally in Middleburg Heights.

The note from the city’s longtime Democrat Mayor Gary Starr comes with the heading of “A Special Invitation on behalf of Ohio’s Next Governor.”

The former Cleveland mayor and six-term congressman filed paperwork with the state to run for the seat earlier this week.

Kucinich’s entry comes as Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley appears close to exiting the race. Whaley reportedly will hold an event with Democrat Richard Cordray on Friday in Dayton where she is expected to endorse the former Ohio Attorney General who on Wednesday announced former Democratic candidate for governor Betty Sutton as his running mate.

Those moves would leave Cordray, Kucinich, State Senator Joe Schiavoni, former State Rep. Connie Pillich and former State Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill as the remaining Democrats in the race. Candidates have until February 7 to file to run.

“Dennis has a few things going for him,” said News 5 Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University. “He instantly has more name recognition than any of the other candidates statewide having run for president twice in the 2000's, that's both a plus and a minus depending how he's depicted.

“He also comes in with a history of strong labor support, he portrays himself as a progressive and might even claim that he was a progressive before progressive was popular with Bernie Sanders,” Sutton said.

“And he is a formidable campaigner and stump speaker which is a strength that he has probably more than of the other Democratic candidates.”

The Kucinich for Governor campaign website does not list a running mate and no word if one will be announced at the campaign kickoff.

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