We don’t yet know whether Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune will actually file the required number of signatures to run for the Democratic nomination for governor. But despite not having the support of the Ohio Democratic Party, he has been travelling the state to gauge support. Recently he came to Ed Fitzgerald’s back yard in Northeast Ohio. From the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Chrissie Thompson and Sharon Coolidge:
Portune drew a crowd of about 100 people in Northeast Ohio on Friday when he spoke to the Ohio Eighth House District Black Caucus, according to the group’s president, Charles E. Bibb Sr.
Bibb said there is overwhelming support for Portune because Portune stands with them on issues of employment, health care, voter suppression, criminal justice, housing, business development and education.
FitzGerald hasn’t been to see the group.
“FitzGerald is from this county, but it was Todd Portune who came and told us what we wanted to hear,” said Bibb, the state coordinator for the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign. “He took his time. He understands our issues.”
Portune drew over 100 people? Fitzgerald must be jealous. We’ve chronicled the embarrassing turnouts Ed has seen at his events. Like single digits in Portsmouth. And a whopping 20 people in Athens, one of Ohio’s most liberal cities.
What happened when Ed Fitzgerald traveled to Cincinnati for his big announcement tour? He drew a few dozen supporters. In a union hall. With the entire ODP machine backing him up.
When Portune travels to the other end of the state and draws a bigger crowd in spite of the ODP working against him, Eddy might be starting to get a little nervous.
The Enquirer also discovered an email sent by Portune that slams Fitzgerald.
“The stories of Ed FitzGerald’s inability to connect with people are legion,” Portune wrote in the email obtained by the Enquirer. “His lack of connection or commitment to the African American community is both amazing and appalling. And his inability to stay in one place long enough to develop any kind of record, or to show any real commitment to the people whose votes he just asked to get, says it all.”
Then he added: “His race for Governor is not about building a party, or about raising up a state – it is, instead, about Ed.”
If Portune goes all in, this will be a fun primary to watch.