With eight (or is it nine?) candidates having announced their intention to enter the Republican and Democratic primaries for governor next year, we are now getting to vetting and/or picking season for lieutenant governor. Unlike the race for president of the United States, candidates for Ohio governor run in the primary with their lieutenant governor choice on the ticket. Here’s a look back at Ohio’s “Veepstakes” in our last three gubernatorial elections.
It was probably a telling sign that the Ed Fitzgerald for governor campaign was doomed from the onset when he needed a mulligan to pick his lieutenant governor. Initially, the Cuyahoga County executive picked Ohio Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney from Cincinnati on November 13th, 2013, for his ticket. Due to some personal tax issues that were brought to light over the course of the campaign, Kearney withdrew his name from the ticket. He was replaced by Dayton-area attorney Sharen Nuehardt on January 17th, 2014.
With Gov. Ted Strickland’s Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher opting to run for outgoing Sen. George Voinovich’s open seat, there were two picks for lieutenant governor made within a week of each other in January of 2010. Then challenger, Gov. John Kasich, chose Mary Taylor as his running mate while Strickland went with Franklin County Judge and later a Supreme Court Justice, Yvette McGee Brown.
Just like next year, 2006 was a true “open seat” situation and Republican Gov. Bob Taft’s scandals had Democrats smelling blood in the water. On the Democratic side, Ted Strickland announced Lee Fisher as his running mate while former State Rep. Bryan Flannery chose Frank Stams.
When State Auditor Betty Montgomery withdrew from the gubernatorial primary to run for attorney general, The GOP was left with a two-man-race between then Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Attorney General Jim Petro. Petro initially chose Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich as his running mate. Heimlich choose to bow out and run again for his commissioner seat. He then tapped Sen. Joy Padgett in January of 2006 to join the ticket. The ultimate Republican nominee, Ken Blackwell, selected State Rep. Tom Raga (now Ohio Chamber of Commerce Board Member) to be on his ticket February 7th, 2006.