Richard Cordray officially announces run for governor, promises to run 'the Ohio way'

Richard Cordray announced his run for Governor as a Democratic candidate during an event at a diner in his hometown of Grove City (WSYX/WTTE)

Former consumer watchdog Richard Cordray announced Tuesday he will join the crowded race to become Ohio's next governor. Cordray will be the sixth Democrat to announce he's running for the state's highest office.

At a diner in his hometown Grove City crowded with press and supporters, the 58-year-old Cordray said Tuesday that he will focus on "kitchen table issues" like the costs of health care and college.

Cordray is a former Ohio attorney general and state treasurer. He said his resignation last month as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau balanced a call from former President Barack Obama to "keep fighting" and his interest in getting ready to run for governor.

"I could feel as the year went on there was a bigger fight developing back here in Ohio," Cordray said during his announcement. "It's a fight we're seeing over the soul of America in terms of how we handle politics, how we handle our communities, in terms of how we treat each other and that's something I want to be a part of."

Many view Cordray as among the Democrats' strongest contenders to seize a critical swing state from Republicans next year. GOP Gov. John Kasich is term-limited and unable to seek re-election.

"He's the one with visibility," said Paul Beck, a political science professor at Ohio State. "The other (Democratic candidates) are quality candidates in many ways but they're people whose reputation is very local and that in a state like Ohio doesn't get you very far."

Beck said Cordray is the kind of candidate who could end the drought for Democrats in statewide offices. The party has only won one statewide race in the past eight years.

"If the Democrats are going to have the possibility of winning the Governor's race, it's probably going to be with a candidate like Cordray," he said.

The Ohio Republican Party criticized Cordray's announcement saying he left his bureaucratic dream job in Washington. They already nicknamed him "Crooked Cordray".

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