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Probably 4 More Years of Ohio Gov. Kasich, as FitzGerald Blunders

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By Mark Wilson, Esq. on October 02, 2014 7:36 PM

For a while, it looked like Ohio Gov. John Kasich wasn't going to be re-elected. Kasich was the same type of staunch Republican as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. But where Walker succeeded, Kasich failed. Voters harshly rebuked a Kasich-endorsed state senate bill that would have limited public employees' collective bargaining rights.

In 2012, toeing the party line with other Republican governors, Kasich said the state wouldn't be implementing a state health insurance exchange. But months later, he changed his mind, declaring Ohio would have a state exchange after all.

Ed FitzGerald Presents: A Series of Unfortunate Events

In this environment of uncertainty, Democrat Ed FitzGerald ran for governor. At one point, FitzGerald -- a former FBI agent and mayor of Lakewood, a Cleveland suburb -- seemed like a strong challenger. Now, though, FitzGerald is behind by 22 points, and it's thanks in part to a sordid history that's unraveling quickly.

On August 1, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported on a 2012 incident in which police found FitzGerald early one Saturday in a parked car near an industrial park with a woman who wasn't his wife. This incident led to a string of subsequent revelations that undermined FitzGerald's credibility.

Days later, it was revealed that FitzGerald had no Ohio driver's license between 2002 and 2008, when he was regularly driving city cars as a prosecutor, councilman, and mayor of Lakewood.

In September, the Northeast Ohio News Group discovered that FitzGerald had failed to disclose several traffic offenses on an application for his city council seat in Lakewood. The avalanche of bad press led his campaign manager and communications director to quit.

Now what? The Ohio Republican Party has filed a motion with the Ohio Supreme Court to get FitzGerald's record of comings and goings from a county parking garage, to see how much time he spent running for governor while working for the county.

Four More Years -- of John Kasich

Kasich seems to be a shoo-in for the governor's race, placing him back into the short long-list of Republican presidential nominees for 2016. People who opine about this sort of thing suggest that his willingness -- albeit reluctantly -- to bring a state exchange and Medicaid expansion to Ohio make him appear more "compassionate" than, say, Mitt Romney.

Rather than spoil a good thing, Kasich has opted not to publicly debate FitzGerald -- the first time the two major parties' ;candidates haven't debated since the 1970s. Instead, FitzGerald will debate Green Party nominee Anita Rios and Kasich will stay far away, letting the election win itself.

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