CINCINNATI (AP) -- A southwest Ohio Democrat plans a campaign swing around the state before deciding whether he will go forward with his run for governor.
Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune announced Dec. 30 he would run. He said he had been hearing from rank-and-file Democrats about their desire for a choice after Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has been running for months. But Portune said he wouldn't file by the Feb. 5 deadline if he determined there wasn't enough statewide support.
Portune told The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1gXEnZ1) recently that he is making what he calls an "aggressive swing" to test whether he can mount a successful challenge. He plans stops over the next week in cities including Athens, Lima and Lorain.
"I'll be assessing where we are," Portune said. "I have no intention to turn this into theatrics of a last-minute decision."
He also said he has been narrowing his list of potential running mates, down to two.
Portune has held office in the Cincinnati area for more than two decades and said he has more experience than FitzGerald and the ability to win votes in southern Ohio.
However, state party leaders such as Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern have made it clear that FitzGerald has their continued backing.
Portune said he told Redfern "it's a free country."
At this point, Republican Gov. John Kasich has no GOP challenger for the May 6 primary. A southwest Ohio tea party activist decided recently against opposing Kasich in the primary.
Portune declined to talk about the amount of his financial support. He said only that he expects a great deal of it to come from small donations by voters.
Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com