By Jeremy Pelzer
Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray is going to run for governor of Ohio, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill said he was told last week by a mutual friend.
O'Neill said the friend, whom he declined to name, "openly stated" that Cordray is going to enter the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary. The friend called to see whether O'Neill would stick to his past statement that he would stay out of the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary if Cordray entered the race.
"The person I was talking to last week was saying that [Cordray] is basically trying to get as many projects done in Washington as he can before he leaves," said O'Neill, the lone Democrat on the state's high court. "But they left me with the clear impression that he is leaving."
O'Neill, who has known Cordray since the two worked together in state government in the 1990s, said he will stick to his promise not to run for governor now that Cordray is entering the race.
For the last four years, Cordray has served as director of the U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. During a press call with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown on Wednesday, Cordray declined comment on whether he intends to run for governor.
Talk about such a move has intensified since cleveland.com columnist Brent Larkin wrote Tuesday that he expects Cordray to run.
Under federal law, Cordray would have to resign as CFPB director to run or to engage in political activity.
Cordray is currently in a legal battle with the Trump administration over whether the president can fire him before his five-year term as director expires next year. (The White House is reportedly leery about firing Cordray anyway, as it could boost his gubernatorial candidacy).
Cordray would be a top-tier candidate in a Democratic primary with no clear frontrunner. Four Democrats have already launched gubernatorial campaigns: former lawmaker Connie Pillich, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, ex-U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
One potential opportunity for Cordray to announce his candidacy is during the Cincinnati's AFL-CIO's annual Labor Day picnic on Sept. 4. Cordray is going to be one of the speakers at the event, according to state Rep. David Leland, a former Ohio Democratic Party chair.
(c)2017 Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland