Columbus -- Former Gov. Ted Strickland will not challenge Gov. John Kasich in next year's gubernatorial contest.
Strickland announced his decision Jan. 8, ending speculation about a rematch of a race that he lost by two percentage points three years ago.
"Frances and I will continue to be politically active private citizens," Strickland said in a released statement. "We will continue to stand with working men and women to build a stronger Ohio -- and to defeat anti-worker and anti-middle class legislation that may arise."
The decision leaves a handful of potential Democratic challengers in 2014. Former Attorney General Richard Cordray, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald and Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan are among the names that have been mentioned for the race.
In his statement Jan. 8, Strickland defended his administration's work to improve the state and set the stage for economic recovery.
"With the help of President Obama, who provided the funds necessary to keep Ohio and all of America from slipping into another Great Depression, we were able to preserve the social safety net, make important investments in education and position Ohio's economy for the recovery that started in February 2010," he said. "And when I look back on my four years as governor, I am equally proud of those in the Strickland Administration who served the public with honor, integrity, and humility. We sought to make Ohio better."
He added, "In short, I believe my administration stood and spoke for the causes that count."
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.