Strickland, Blackwell win governor races

Douglas M. Kafury

A landslide and a nail biter were the results of yesterday’s gubernatorial primary as U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland and Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell will go head-to-head Nov. 7 to determine who will succeed Gov. Bob Taft.

However, access to election results was delayed for two hours, after a judge ordered polling sites to remain open until 9:30 p.m. because a Cuyahoga County polling site didn’t open on time when workers failed to show up. Blackwell ordered the results of the elections would be withheld until all polling places were closed.

In the Democratic primary, Strickland defeated former state Rep. Bryan Flannery in a landslide vote by taking about 79 percent of the votes.

On the Republican side, Blackwell defeated Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro. Of the 8,634 votes, Blackwell took about 56 percent.

Both candidates have already put the primary behind them.

Blackwell promises to give Strickland the same treatment he gave Petro.

“To brother Strickland,” Blackwell said, “you can run but you can’t hide. We’re coming right atcha. We represent change, we represent the future, and there is no retreat in our bones.”

Strickland said the majority of Ohio’s voters will not cast the vote for Blackwell because his conservative values are “far outside the mainstream.”

Strickland will have the chance to become the first Democrat as the state’s top executive official since 1991.

Strickland, 64, of Lisbon is currently serving in his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Strickland’s running mate, Lee Fisher of Shaker Heights, has held three statewide elected offices and lost narrowly in the general election in his 1998 bid for governor. Fisher has served in both houses of the Ohio General Assembly and spent one term as attorney general.

Following a primary that divided the Republican party, Blackwell, who is the first black to be nominated for Ohio governor, seeks to keep the governor’s chair in possession of the Grand Old Party.

Blackwell, 58, of Cincinnati, graduated from Xavier University with a Bachelor of Science. He has held three executive level positions, one at the municipal level and two at the state level. After serving on Cincinnati City Council, Blackwell ousted infamous television personality Jerry Springer to become mayor of Cincinnati. In 1994, Blackwell became the first black to be elected to a statewide executive office when he became state treasurer. Blackwell has served as Ohio’s secretary of state since 1998.

Blackwell’s choice for lieutenant governor, state Rep. Tom Raga of Mason, is currently serving his third term in the Ohio General Assembly.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact public affairs reporter Douglas M. Kafury at [email protected]