With the first of six Democratic sponsored gubernatorial debate scheduled for Sept. 12th, Plunderbund asked the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) whether it will permit wild-card celebrity talk-show host Jerry Springer or Consumer Finance Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray to join already declared candidates hoping to fill the open governor’s seat after term-limited Republican Gov. John R. Kasich leaves office in 16 months?
Whether Springer, who is creating buzz about his run after reports say he’s nearing a decision, or Cordray, a former Buckeye State attorney general whose term as leader of CFPB ends next July, add their names to a list that already includes Connie Pillich, Betty Sutton, Nan Whaley, and Joe Schiavoni is unknown.
What is known, according to ODP, is that wealthy TV celebrity Springer or GOP-hunted Cordray will have to undergo what the other four Democrats running for governor have endured before stepping on stage at Martins Ferry High School in Belmont County for the first or any subsequent debates ODP will sponsor.
“The state party is committed to an open primary process, but we are doing our due diligence in vetting all of our statewide candidates,” ODP spokesman Kirstin Alvanitakis emailed Plunderbund Thursday.
Alvanitakis said the party is “focused on the four fantastic candidates that have thrown their hat in the ring, are going through the vetting process and traveling the state, talking with voters and getting their message out.”
“We’re holding the first Democratic primary debate on Tuesday, Sept. 12, and as we’ve discussed before, any candidate that wants to announce and participate in our sanctioned debates and forums must commit to going through the same process as the other four candidates currently in the race.”
Jerry Springer or Richard Cordray would change the dynamics of a contest some may think is shaping up to be a lopsided contest with Republican candidates like Mike DeWine, Jon Husted, Mary Taylor, and Jim Renacci, each of whom with the exception of Renacci have won statewide races, and Democrats, none of whom have won statewide and all of whom have campaign contributions that pale in comparison to their GOP rivals.
What might otherwise be an uphill climb next year for Democrats, given how bad Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton last year, will depend on several factors, including whether Republicans can pump up turnout in greater numbers than Democrats in the coming mid-term elections that historically show voters tend to stay home compared to presidential election years.
Springer jumping in would suddenly jack-up the political Scoville scale of the debates. Cordray would also add drama should he declare for governor, but given the CFPB leader’s phlegmatic and measured personality, the former five-time Jeopardy! champion would trigger the celebrity fueled fascination media would lap up like a hungry bear finding a pot of golden sweet honey.