Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Messy running mate rollout tests Ed FitzGerald's political mettle in race for Ohio governor: Analysis

Ed FitzGerald knew it would be the first major decision of his 2014 campaign for governor. But in the two weeks since he picked State Sen. Eric Kearney to be his running mate on the Democratic ticket, almost nothing has gone right.

The announcement came off as rushed and prompted speculation that the campaign was eager to drown out a story about FitzGerald's struggles in the black political community.

Those rush-job theories multiplied when Kearney's voluminous money problems began trickling out 24 hours later, while FitzGerald was still introducing his new No. 2.

What could have been a one-day story raged on because Kearney and Team FitzGerald were not forthcoming about his debts. And when reporters from across Ohio kept asking simple questions about how much Kearney owes in unpaid taxes, the campaign not only had incomplete answers, it had to seek additional documentation from outside sources.

That raised another question: Why didn't FitzGerald have that information already?

Meaty policy issues will have their day in this race. But the rollout of the FitzGerald-Kearney ticket is as instructive a signpost as any when evaluating where the Cuyahoga County executive's bid for governor stands. Once the upstart candidate in a hurry, FitzGerald now finds the mechanics of a statewide campaign – his first – moving faster than his operation can support.


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