Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nina Turner rides MSNBC coattails, drives fiery message while traveling Ohio campaign trail

MASON, Ohio -- On one side of the room, it's cocktail hour at the country club. Middle-aged and elderly couples in business casual sip wine from a mahogany bar and politely talk politics beneath crystal chandeliers before filing into a receiving line to shake hands with the man running for governor.

On the other side, it's more like backstage at a rock concert.

An amped-up crowd gathers around Nina Turner. They ask for autographs on posters the state senator from Cleveland has stacked on a high-top pub table. The younger ones pull out their iPhones and insist on a photo before moving on.

"This is our first time seeing her in person," Mike Norman says after he and his wife, Lynn, score a signature and break away from the growing circle. "My wife said if she was going to meet one person here tonight, it was Nina."

Tonight, a Friday in late April, it's a dinner with the Warren County Democrats. The following afternoon it will be a luncheon in Chillicothe. Turner's supper tour also has stopped this week in Butler, Defiance and Champaign counties.

Republicans outnumber Democrats in these parts of Ohio. But when you are plotting your first run for statewide office, the rubber chicken buffet doesn't end at enemy lines. Turner, who soon will announce her candidacy for secretary of state, is strategically using these dinners to build a coalition far from her Democrat-heavy base in Cuyahoga County.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ed FitzGerald kicks off his long-planned bid for governor by banking on his Cuyahoga County base

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald kicked off his long-planned campaign for governor Wednesday -- another step in the Democrat's fast-moving political career.

For FitzGerald, the former mayor of Lakewood, the choice was between challenging incumbent Republican John Kasich or seeking a second term as the top elected leader of a reshaped county government still in its early stages.

Given the months FitzGerald already has spent networking with party activists in parts of Ohio where he is far less known, there was no suspense when he formalized his decision in a speech at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Cleveland.

The man who was born to run took the stage to "The Rising" by Bruce Springsteen.

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