Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune on Thursday declined to announce whether he will challenge gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald in a Democratic primary after all, despite previously telling The Cincinnati Enquirer he already made a decision.
While CityBeat will certainly cover Portune’s announcement once it finally comes, it’s all with the acknowledgement that his chances of getting the Democratic nomination are slim to none. Portune has no credible organization, his name recognition is low outside southwest Ohio and he apparently can’t find a candidate for lieutenant governor, which all gubernatorial candidates must do prior to collecting and filing 1,000 signatures before a February deadline.
The weak indicators surrounding Portune’s campaign help explain why, when asked by reporters, FitzGerald said he’s not worried about Portune.
“I respect him. He’s an elected official. He’s been an elected official for a long time,” FitzGerald said. “I think he’s not being entirely realistic. It’s very difficult to run a legitimate statewide campaign.”
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern put it more forcefully in his comments to media outlets.
“Every two years, we get excited about the Cincinnati Bengals and Todd Portune talks about running for an office,” he told WVXU.
Still, Portune continues clinging on to his gubernatorial ambitions.
“To end it now would be inconsistent with the message I have given around the state, which is to not give in the diversity,” Portune told The Enquirer. “And while it may appear improbably today… I can’t say it’s impossible.”
In the meantime, FitzGerald will keep running a serious statewide campaign to defeat Republican Gov. John Kasich this November.
With just five votes separating them on Election Night, Democrat Connie Pillich and Republican Mike Wilson are both appealing to supporters to help them contact people who cast absentee ballots that have problems.
Pillich, the incumbent in the Ohio House 28th District seat, was ahead of Wilson by five votes when ballots were counted on Nov. 3. But the Board of Elections still is counting absentee and provisional ballots, which could be the deciding factor in the hotly contested race.
Some important dates involving Ohio’s March 6 primary election are fast approaching.
Early voting — both at the Board of Elections and via mail-in ballot — begins Jan. 31. Applications for mail-in ballots are available on the board’s website or by calling the board’s offices at 513-632-7039, 513-632 7040 or 513-632-7044.