Former CFPB Head Expected to Announce Run for Ohio Governor

by | December 5, 2017

By Jim Provance

Once again, little-known Democratic gubernatorial candidates trying to increase their statewide profiles through a debate were upstaged Monday with word that another candidate is entering the race.

Former federal consumer watchdog Richard Cordray will announce his "future plans" Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. in Grove City, his suburban Columbus hometown. He is expected to launch his campaign for his party's nomination to succeed Republican Gov. John Kasich at Lilly's Kitchen Table, a downtown diner.

When contacted Monday, he declined to comment on the event's purpose, but an adviser who wished to remain anonymous said he will discuss creating a system that works for everyone, in keeping with his role at the bureau. He will then embark on a tour across the state.

Mr. Cordray was not on the stage at Monday's debate hosted by the City Club of Cleveland. Nor was a fifth announced candidate, Ohio Supreme Court William O'Neill. The justice has said he will drop out if Mr. Cordray enters the race. Participating in the debate between Democratic gubernatorial candidates were former Cincinnati state Rep. Connie Pillich, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of near Akron, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of near Youngstown, and Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton.

A former Ohio attorney general, treasurer, and state representative, Mr. Cordray recently resigned with seven months left in his five-year term as head of the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau was created in the wake of the 2008 Wall Street crisis, and he was initially named the bureau's first director in a recess appointment by President Obama.

Because of his federal profile in recent years, Mr. Cordray may be the best known of the Democratic field. Republicans have long assumed he would be the candidate and have largely focused on him.

Most recently, they took aim at his move to name his chief of staff as acting director of the bureau in his absence. President Trump instead named his White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, who is not a fan of the regulatory body.

The four candidates on the Cleveland debate stage Monday reflected on the changing landscape of the race -- Mr. Cordray and last week's merger of Mr. DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted's campaigns into a single ticket with Mr. DeWine at the top.

"Gosh, (Mr. Cordray) was our one voice of hope in D.C., one voice that was standing up for consumers....," Ms. Pillich said. "And now Richard Cordray has abandoned that post, and he's turned it over to Donald Trump. He left no organized succession plan in place, and it's chaotic.  We need someone who's going to be here for the long run."

Together the DeWine-Husted ticket brings high name recognition and a combined $10 million into the race.

"Truthfully, I don't care...," Senator Schiavoni said. "Just because people know you doesn't mean that everybody likes you, That name recognition thing starts wearing on me a little bit. You have to earn name recognition. Every single day (a Democrat) going from community to community and really talking and listening ...and then turning that into plans to make lives better -- that's the way you earn name recognition."

In a rare moment in a Democratic debate so far, Ms. Sutton directly disagreed with Mr. Schiavoni.

"Times are serious and so are (Republicans), and we need someone who can go toe to toe with them and beat them next November, because if we don't win, we don't get to do anything," she said.

Ms. Whaley noted that the DeWine-Husted ticket represents 60 years in elected office.

"The same old leadership over and over again, not creating jobs for our state," she said. "I think the state is tired of it... I think what the state is looking for is a new kind of leadership."

Also in the hunt on the Republican side are Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, of Wadsworth.

(c)2017 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)