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Decision disappoints Lawrence backers

Jan. 09, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- Much to the disappointment of Lawrence County Democrats, former Gov. Ted Strickland announced Tuesday he wouldn't run for governor next year against Gov. John Kasich, the Republican who beat Strickland in the 2010 election.

Strickland served one term as Ohio governor before losing a re-election bid to Kasich. Strickland served as this area's congressman for a number of years prior to being elected to the state's top job.

Strickland said he and wife Frances "will continue to be politically active private citizens. We will continue to stand with working men and women to build a stronger Ohio -- and to defeat anti-worker and anti-middle-class legislation that may arise."

Mark McCown, an Ironton lawyer and secretary of the county's Democratic Party, said Strickland's decision represents a loss to Lawrence County.

"He has always been an extremely hard worker for this area," McCown said. "This area got more money from Columbus than in any time before or since. He is a genuinely good individual of high character."

"Personally, I'm disappointed," said Craig Allen, an Ironton lawyer and chairman of the county's Democratic Party. "I thought he was an excellent governor and an excellent congressman before that."

"We need to get started early in raising money for the governor's race," Allen said. "One of the first things Kasich did was take on the unions and he ended up losing that fight. I feel the union people are still upset and won't forget what he did."

County Auditor Jason Stephens, a Republican, said Gov. Kasich "has had his ups and downs. 2014 is a long way off. I'm sure Gov. Kasich won't run unopposed."

"I thought he would run again," said Ray T. "Moose" Dutey, chairman of the county's Republican executive committee. "I think Kasich is a strong candidate. I know Ted is strong in Lawrence County since he used to be in Congress. I think Kasich is taking the state in the right direction. I think he would have beat (Strickland) again."

"I've seen him on TV a lot lately," said David Classing of South Point. Classing has worked on several campaigns for Strickland. "Maybe he's making an impact nationally. Maybe there's an appointment in the Obama administration."

"He was one of the best congressmen Southern Ohio has ever had," Classing said. "People can't get the help they did when Ted was in Congress. He was a good governor, too."

"Ted has always been a friend of Southern Ohio," said County Treasurer Steve Burcham, a Democrat. "I understand, but I'm disappointed he decided not to run. I think Ted always represented Southern Ohio well. He was a good governor in tough economic times to our state."

"A lot of people thought Strickland could have beaten Kasich," said Clerk of Courts Mike Patterson, a Democrat. "I don't know much about the guys who could run against (Kasich)."

Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan are among the top potential Democratic challengers to Kasich next year. FitzGerald is a former FBI agent and Ryan is a six-term congressman from Youngstown.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.