News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Wayside Furniture

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics


Kearney quits as candidate for lieutenant governor; Dems ask what's next?
List of likelies to replace Kearney include Pillich and Heard
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is shopping for a new running mate.
Courtesy of WKSU file photo
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Sen. Eric Kearney has stepped down as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor after confirming hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid back taxes. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler has the latest.

LISTEN: Kearney is off the Democratic ticket

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:47)


LISTEN: Kearney on his tax troubles

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (0:11)


LISTEN: Kearney on what's next?

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (0:13)


The announcement from Ed FitzGerald that Sen. Eric Kearney of Cincinnati would be his running mate didn’t have much in the way of drama, since word of Kearney’s selection had leaked out the day before. 

“I’m very happy that today I can tell you that that search process officially is over. We have found a person that is going to be a partner with me as we turn around the state of Ohio and we lead our ticket to victory next year.”

 

Ed FitzGerald's statment on Kearney's resignation: "I have enormous respect for Senator Kearney's record as a community leader in the Cincinnati area, as a family man, and as one of the most respected and effective legislators in Ohio. Eric’s decency is matched only by his record of leadership and legislative accomplishment.

Eric and I agree about the challenges facing Ohio, and about how important it is for the state to change direction in the next election. Because that is our primary concern, we agreed that it is best for Sen. Kearney to step down from the ticket. Ultimately, the discussion of the crucial issues facing Ohio was in danger of being drowned out, making this decision difficult but necessary.  

The campaign will now move on with the discussion squarely focused where it should be: How we can refocus state policies to benefit working people and middle-class families who are finding it increasingly difficult to get by in John Kasich's faltering economy."

But a few hours later, reports of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tax liens against Kearney and his wife tied to the publishing business they own started to trickle out. Last week, the trickle was a torrent, adding up to as much as $825,000 in unpaid back taxes – plus a credit card debt and questions about unpaid workers compensation premiums.

But when asked about his tax problems in a marathon conference call with reporters last week, Sen. Eric Kearney of Cincinnati made clear his determination several times to remain Ed FitzGerald’s running mate. 

“I’m in it. We’re in it all the way and we’re going to see this through.”

Afew hours after making that statement, Kearney said he would step down as Senate minority leader to concentrate on the campaign. And he said that though FitzGerald wasn’t on the conference call with him, the candidate stood by him and that they’d never had any discussions about whether Kearney’s tax troubles would be a liability for the campaign.

Others thought differently
But the chorus of voices calling on Kearney to step aside or for FitzGerald to replace him had been rising for a while. The most recent was veteran Democratic strategist Jerry Austin of Cleveland, who has run national and statewide campaigns but is now retired.

“It already looks bad. The first thing you always want to do when you’re picking a running mate is not to have stories that are going on for a week about ‘why did you pick him when you knew this information?’ and that’s happened now.”

Who should replace Kearney?
Austin, who says he’s helped pick five Ohio lieutenant governors, says Kearney’s departure is needed to give the ticket time to recover before November’s election.

Asked who he thinks should replace Kearney, Austin says“The strongest candidate that the Democrats have right now I believe is Connie Pillich, and I would suggest that people ought to be calling on her to run for governor.”

State Rep. Connie Pillich of Cincinnati has announced her intention to run for state treasurer. Before Kearney was announced, there were reports that Columbus councilman Zach Klein, state Sen. Lou Gentile of Steubenville and state Rep. Debbie Phillips of Athens were being considered.


And one of the leading contenders was thought to be House Minority Leader Tracy Heard of Columbus. At a news conference with Philips and other House Democrats blasting the economy under Republican Gov. John Kasich, Heard deflected questions about whether she’d talked to the FitzGerald campaign. 

“I know you guys probably have a lot of interest in that, but we’re going to leave that to the politicos and the pundits to address later.”

This isn’t the first time a governor/lieutenant governor team has been changed before an election. It happened in 2006, when Jim Petro replaced his lieutenant governor before the Republican gubernatorial primary. He lost the primary to Ken Blackwell – who then lost to Democrat Ted Strickland that fall.

Kearney said in a statement that the business was on a path to recover from the tax troubles, but that he’s stepping aside because – quoting here – “it’s undeniable that this has come to be a distraction from a discussion of the vital issues facing Ohio." 

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Year-end review: Ohio Common Core, removing standards
To learn why Common Core is not good for our students or our country from a pedagogical view watch this one hour teacher created video. http://www.youtube.com/...

Ohio Supreme Court clears red-light cameras and their appeals process
I too agree that the red lights should be banned, there are certain circumstances which require an officers attention.

Ohio Senate year in review: Slow start, strong finish
Senator Keith Faber's claim that the Heartbeat Bill could endanger abortion restrictions already in Ohio law is either intentionally deceptive or Faber hasn't r...

Four Ohio death row inmates sue over new execution rule
Convicted felons still victimizing the victims and family members...fighting for their right to a due process after killing/raping someone. What about the victi...

The city of Akron will train truckers for sewer construction work
I was wandering if they where looking for people with a cdl can I get a job too?

Many long-ignored bills passed the Ohio Legislature this year
Andy, I have to ask the obvious question. When are the legislators going to fix the method of school funding? The OH Supreme Court ruled several times years ago...

Will Ohio's marijuana initiative follow casinos' lead?
We just ask to have marijuana legalized and here comes some nimrod trying to rob us of our rights and make us buy it from some legalized new type DRUG DEALER th...

Fancy dinners from humble beginnings at The Blue Door
Grandma of Chris Miller moved to Florida in a retirement community but I sure miss the Falls and the Blue Door, and the fine service and the true friendship of ...

The Black Keys guitar tech's moment in the spotlight
Nice job, Vivian. It's always nice to hear about the unsung heroes getting their due! Thank you, Chuck Johnston (Full disclosure - I'm a friend of the Carney fa...

A guide for gift-shopping for older Ohians
I'll never be to old for peanut brittle.

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University