Despite rumors on state and national political blogs, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland told a private gathering in Cincinnati this past weekend that he has no intention of picking State Rep. Jennifer Garrison as his running mate in 2010.
Strickland appeared at an LGBT-themed fundraiser Saturday afternoon at an East Walnut Hills residence. During a question-and-answer session with attendees, the governor flatly dismissed reports that he was considering Garrison for lieutenant governor in his next race and assured them that wouldn’t happen, said several sources at the event.
The lieutenant governor’s spot is being vacated by Lee Fisher, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican George Voinovich. Some Democratic Party insiders say Strickland would like to pick a woman as his running mate, and Garrison’s name is among those mentioned.
Sometimes called “Ohio’s Sarah Palin” by progressive Democrats, Garrison is an attorney and Greater Cincinnati native who now lives in Marietta and represents Ohio’s 93rd District.
In 2004, Garrison campaigned against State Rep. Nancy Hollister, a Republican incumbent who was the sole GOP vote in the Ohio House against the anti-gay “Defense of Marriage Act.” Garrison made her opposition to same-sex marriage the primary issue in her campaign and distributed mailers attacking Hollister for her stance. One mailing stated, “Jennifer Garrison believes marriage is between one man and one woman and will fight to protect our values.”
Also, Garrison is supported by the National Rifle Association and endorsed by Ohio Right to Life.
Strickland’s local appearance was part of a series of fundraisers held around the state to shore up his support among the gay and lesbian community. An invitation to the event read, “For the first time in Ohio history, a sitting governor will travel to Ohio’s largest cities to meet with LGBT leaders to discuss the future of our state and our community.”
Among the issues Strickland discussed at the event were passing the Equal Housing and Employment Act and a proposed law allowing two-parent adoption for gay couples.