He’s extremely late to the game. The Ohio Democratic Party has already endorsed Fitzgerald, built their ticket around him and are actively working against Portune. If Portune gets on the ballot, he’s most likely doomed.
Unless he finds a running mate who is a superstar among Ohio Democrats, especially in Northeast Ohio.
He may have found just that. From Henry Gomez of the Plain Dealer:
On Wednesday, a source told the Northeast Ohio Media Group of a telephone poll in the works that asks voters about a hypothetical Democratic ticket pushing former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich for governor. Kucinich’s running mate in this scenario: Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, who is openly exploring a run for the top spot.
Kucinich, the former mayor of Cleveland who spends much of his time in Washington after losing his seat in a 2012 redistricting battle, earlier refuted speculation that he also might throw his hat in the ring. On Wednesday, his response was notably different.
“No comment,” Kucinich said by text message after being asked specifically about the poll and whether he was considering a run in the Democratic primary.
Reached by telephone, Portune was much more cryptic. “I don’t know about any poll in the field,” he said.
Asked whether he had discussed running in the No. 2 spot with Kucinich as the candidate for governor, Portune replied: “I’m speaking with people to be my lieutenant governor.”
Portune was pressed further: Has there been any talk of joining forces with Kucinich?
“I can’t answer that question,” Portune replied. “My focus is on being the gubernatorial candidate.”
Dennis Kucinich is a star among Cleveland Democrats. He used to be mayor. He was a U.S. Congressman for years and ran for president twice. Being almost completely unknown in Northeast Ohio, that’s exactly the kind of person that Portune would need on his ticket in order to be competitive on Fitzgerald’s home turf.
Gomez also reports that there is no love lost between Kucinich and Fitzgerald, either. When Dennis needed his neighbor Fitzgerald’s support in his primary against Marci Kaptur, Fitz betrayed him.
The Dennis Kucinich for governor rumblings prompt an obvious question. Is there bad blood between the former congressman and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald?
To find an answer, look back two short years. Kucinich was in the midst of a fierce primary battle with Rep. Marcy Kaptur. Her Toledo-based district was drawn in with his Cleveland-based turf under a Republican-backed remapping. To win, Kucinich needed all hands on deck in his back yard, including Lakewood, where he kept a district office.
But FitzGerald, the former Lakewood mayor, stayed neutral. And his allies in the western suburb were notable holdouts when the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party met to overwhelmingly endorse Kucinich over Kaptur. Fanning the flames, FitzGerald spoke highly of Kaptur for a New York Times piece that ran the weekend before the primary.
Kucinich lost by double digits a few days later, retreated to Washington with his wife and took a job as a contributor to Fox News.
As we shared two years ago, Dennis suspects Chris Redfern actually orchestrated the shift of the district back into Marcy Kaptur’s favor.
In the past week a mind-boggling number of re-mapping efforts by Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly have been made to try to reshape our district in such a way as to dilute the strength of my core constituency in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County. Yes, the Republicans drew a Democratic district, using most of my present district and creating a seat which is based in the Cleveland area. This map gave the advantage to my constituents in the greater Cleveland area. I have said so. Some statehouse Democrats want to repeal this map. I don’t.
Both Kucinich and Portune are being coy and tight-lipped about a possible ticket together. There almost certainly seems to be talks going on. Whether they result in an actual ticket together? We won’t have to wait too long to find out. The filing deadline for 1000 signatures minimum is in less than three weeks, and the signature forms must have the LG candidate on them.
The only other question is, would it be Portune/Kucinich or Kucinich/Portune?