Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune has given up plans to challenge Ed FitzGerald in a Democratic primary race for Ohio Governor.
Portune's decision came only five days before the Wednesday filing deadline for statewide candidates. After crisscrossing the state since early December trying to drum up support, in the end he could not muster enough support or overcome the opposition of the Ohio Democratic Party, which has endorsed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive.
And he could not find a candidate to run with him for lieutenant governor, a requirement for filing petitions. He had been talking to former Toledo mayor Jack Ford for several days about joining the ticket, but multiple media reports around the state say that, in the end, Ford decided not to run.
Portune's decision gives FitzGerald a clear path in the May primary and he will take on incumbent Republican governor John Kasich in the fall.
Portune made the announcement late Friday in an email.
Read the announcement:
Statement from the Todd Portune for Ohio campaign: Cincinnati, OH - Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune today called an end to his bid to enter the 2014 Ohio Gubernatorial race. Portune, who first announced his probable interest in the race on December 17, 2013, had narrowed his choice of a running mate to current Toledo Councilman, and former Toledo Mayor and Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives, Jack Ford. Portune, who had travelled around Ohio over 38 counties during the past 45 days meeting with Ohio voters, elected officials and leaders of organizations traditionally associated with the Democratic Party in an effort to assess their interest in supporting a choice for Governor in the Democratic Primary, said that he and Ford were unable to carry their joint effort any further. Portune offered his ongoing pledge to help bring the kinds of creative, best practice solutions to the state's problems that are being developed at the local level all over Ohio and that he and Ford were committed toward doing in a gubernatorial bid. Portune said, "it is at the local level where government is not only working across party lines, but it is at the local level where government has to work. Jack Ford and I both understand that local governments cannot pass the buck. We have to find solutions, across party lines within our means. While we have concluded that we are unable to meet our goals for the state through the means of a gubernatorial race, we both look forward to continuing in our efforts to work for the betterment of the Ohio Democratic Party and for the State of Ohio in other ways than as candidates for statewide office." Portune offered his thanks to the many people around the state who took the time to lend their support; meet with him; to offer their views and to share their concerns. He closed by saying, "we have a great state with wonderful people and terrific assets. Jack Ford and I are living proof that all things are possible despite the challenges we all face. Our commitment to Ohio and to the many people we have met along the way does not end here. Instead we will find other ways, given the blessings and the assets that we have, to continue to fight for a better Ohio." No further comments are available at this time.