Democratic Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald says he has formed an exploratory committee to examine a possible run for Governor in 2014.
The move allows FitzGerald to raise money without formally declaring his candidacy. Nick Castele of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.
Officially, this is not Ed FitzGerald’s declaration of candidacy. But it’s a step in that direction.
In an announcement video posted to YouTube, he offered a glimpse of what his campaign message might be.
FITZGERALD: “If you’re tired of state government taking its cues from the wealthy and well-connected, instead of the middle class, join me. If you’re tired of the status quo that passes the buck to local communities while you get nickeled and dimed to death, join me.”
A Quinnipiac poll from the end of February found that 80 percent of Ohioans surveyed said they hadn’t heard enough about FitzGerald to make up their minds about him.
Other potential candidates for governor all fared better than FitzGerald on that question - Congressman Tim Ryan, former Congresswoman Betty Sutton and federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray.
Speaking to reporters after a press conference outside his office, FitzGerald acknowledged lack of name recognition is his most immediate challenge.
FITZGERALD: “I’m pretty well known in this part of the state, but I’m getting to know the rest of the state, and you need to respect that process. And you need to get to know people all across the state. And that’s what I’m exploring.”
FitzGerald has around two dozen county Democratic Party dinners on his schedule in the next few months. And he’ll be speaking this Friday in Columbus at the Ohio Democratic Party’s Legacy Dinner—one of the biggest gatherings of Democrats in the state.