Todd Portune, longtime Hamilton County Commissioner, has announced that he’s possibly running for governor. Nobody knows why he’s doing it.
Portune is a really, really nice guy. As the first Democrat to sit on the commission since the 60s, he has generally been the most attentive to the needs of regular Cincinnatians, and has participated the most in neighborhood projects.
That said, he’s also been really conservative. His transportation policies are very highway-centric and he generally opposes investment into Cincinnati’s cultural icons.
Unlike Portune, Ed FitzGerald has no liabilities on the left. He’s good on everything that you’d want him to be good on. I can’t think of anything on which Portune’s an improvement over FitzGerald.
Portune’s (valid) complaint seems to be that the FitzGerald campaign is overestimating his name recognition and the statewide appreciation of his accomplishments in Cuyahoga County. If a primary leads to an earlier product rollout for FitzGerald, then it could be positive all around.
Unfortunately, Portune is also connected to some of Hamilton County’s dirtiest campaigners on the Democratic side. There’s no place in a primary for practitioners of whisper campaigns, media leaks, triangulation, and scorched earth tactics–especially in a doomed campaign.
And, lest one think that Portune’s fiscal conservatism will lead to conservative votes, Portune’s electoral achievements are vastly overrated. Sure, he pulls around 57% of the vote in Hamilton County–but Sherrod Brown pulls 54%, and Obama has won the county twice. It should be expected that Democrats win Hamilton County; the fact that Portune has won 4 races (only 2 of them competitive) should only be read as a mark of competence.
  • Mark Szabo

    FitzGerald isn’t perfect on the left because of history issues. He is good on the issues now.


    First off, I’m not a big fan of a Primary just to have a Primary.If Portune wants to complain about name recognition I live in Columbus and have never heard of him.A consevative Dem from Cinci with baggage is not what we need right now.With no Primary the Dems can present a united Party to go after Kasich. He can be vicious if cornered. Fitzgerald can corner him. A Kasich meltdown on the trail could be fun to see. So no primary and a united front is key to 2014. This election is for our future.

  • Stephen Beard

    FitzGerald definitely needs to start selling himself as a good replacement for Kasich. He needs to do it now. I’ve heard of him, I’ve seen he is well-supported in NE Ohio, he seems to have the right ideas — but my guess (and it’s just a guess) is that he is unknown in most of the state.

  • Portune sounds like a blue dog. I would like see a primary with more than one viable candidate. We did the whole “it’s his turn” thing with Fisher

  • anastasjoy

    There’s also this:,%20Todd474.pdf

    Given the nonstop assaults on women’s rights in the past session of the legislature, abetted by Kasich, there is no way Ohio Democrats will support someone who is to the right of most Democrats on choice issues.

    We went through this in 2010 and forced a candidate off the statewide ticket. Apparently Portune wasn’t paying attention. His positions on reproductive freedom make him a non-starter as a statewide Democratic candidate.

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