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Dear Eddy: Stop & Think

By now you’ve heard the news of former-Congresswoman Betty Sutton taking her hat out of the ring for 2014:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton will not run for governor next year — a decision that for now clears the Democratic field for Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

“I will always be honored by the support and encouragement I have been given,” Sutton said Friday morning in a brief emailed announcement, “but after thoughtful consideration, I have decided that I will not run for governor in 2014.”

Sutton, of Copley Township, is the latest high-profile Democrat to pass on the chance to challenge Republican Gov. John Kasich. Already on the sidelines were former Gov. Ted Strickland and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of the Youngstown area.

This comes less than a month after a Quinnipiac poll showed Governor John Kasich’s reelection chances looking quite strong:

In an early look at the 2014 reelection race, Gov. Kasich holds 6-point to 10-point leads against each of the four potential contenders for the Democratic nomination to run against him:

  • 45 – 35 percent over Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald;
  • 44 – 38 percent over U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray;
  • 44 – 36 percent over U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan;
  • 45 – 38 percent over former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton.

Sutton’s decision comes as a blow to Democrat hopes in the state of Ohio, as the presumed front-runner Eddy FicksJerrold, not only polls the worst against Kasich, but is also unknown to 80% of Ohioans.  Which leads me to this appeal to the Cuyahoga County Executive: stop and think about this.

Now, I’m not one to discourage Democrats from potential future embarassments.  As a Republican, I certainly welcome it.  But as a political observer and a fan of electoral campaigns, watching Eddy walk into a potential buzz-saw isn’t something that I’m awaiting with baited breath.

The poll numbers already bear out the challenges ahead for Eddy.  And even liberals aren’t his biggest fans, going so far as to call him a “skin crawling careerist.”  And, that’s about as appropriate a moniker as any. 

Anyone can see Eddy has potential at future statewide electoral office, if he keeps his nose clean, which may not be that easy for a guy that goes by “Public Official 14.”  He’s a former FBI agent, and occupies an important executive office in the Ohio liberal base that is Northeast Ohio.  But he’s only held that office for a few years.  Any move for higher office is easily met with calls of “career politician” or “political opportunist.”

And, of course, any campaign ad remotely connecting him to corrupt Cuyahoga County politics, and he’s dead in the water everywhere outside of liberal Northeast Ohio.  It’s easy to see that hardworking, blue dog Democrats in Southeast Ohio won’t be lining up to vote for a guy who cut corners, if only allegedly.

It’s not an ideal situation for Eddy to make a run at Ohio’s highest elected office.  And if, in 2014, he loses to Kasich—which looks more and more likely with each passing poll—he’s got very little chance of making a political comeback.  Not since 1978 has an Ohio gubernatorial candidate lost election only to win the office later.  And Eddy is no Richard Celeste.

In 1978, Celeste ran from his position as the elected Lieutenant Governor of the state—an office that is no longer separately elected.  Celeste had the opportunity to serve in a gubernatorial capacity prior to his run for the top office.  That’s a qualification that Eddy cannot achieve in today’s political world.

So if (and as the poll numbers continue to improve, it looks more and more like a “when”), Kasich beats Eddy in two years, how does FixGruber bounce back?  History shows he’s unlikely to be successful at another run later on.  And he can’t run for lesser office down the road—that makes him look weak.

In other words, if Eddy runs in 2014 and loses, he’s likely done with statewide elected office.  And that would put an end to what many believe to be a promising political career—all because that “skin crawling careerist” can’t put his ego in check.

So, Eddy, stop and think about this before you let your ego get the best of you today.  It might lead to you sitting in an unemployment line tomorrow.

Then again, for the sake of Ohio, that might not be a bad thing.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.


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