Kasich and FitzGerald Will Face Off for Ohio Governor

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The November field for governor was set Tuesday and Ohioans voted their approval for a state program for repairs and upgrades to roads and bridges.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald easily won the Democratic primary for governor, and will challenge Republican Gov. John Kasich’s bid for re-election this fall. Long the presumptive Democrat nominee, FitzGerald overwhelmed little-known Larry Ellis Ealy.

House Speaker John Boehner handily turned back tea party challengers in his home district’s Republican primary. Miami University professor Tom Poetter won the Democrat primary to oppose Boehner in the 8th District he has dominated since first winning in 1990.

House incumbents Democrat Tim Ryan and Republicans Steve Stivers and Michael Turner easily won their primaries.

Meanwhile, a Republican state legislator under indictment on felony charges was soundly rejected by primary voters. With all precincts reporting unofficial returns, Rep. Peter Beck of Mason had about 8 percent of the vote, with Paul Zeltwanger, who owns a real estate development company, winning with 52 percent over Mary Jo Kubicki in the southwestern Ohio race.

No significant voting problems were reported to state officials by the time polls closed Tuesday evening.

“Things appear to have gone pretty smoothly,” Ohio Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Matt McClellan said.

Elections board officials in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus reported light but steady turnout Tuesday, with heavier voting in communities with contested issues or candidate races.

Five GOP incumbents in the Ohio Senate had challengers, though no Democratic incumbents did. Democrats had 13 contested primary races for seats in the Ohio House, while majority Republicans had almost twice as many.

Marylyn Brengelman, a 66-year-old retiree who voted in Cincinnati, said she likes Kasich because “he’s done a good job overall.”

“I just voted Republican down the line,” she said. “I’d like to boot everyone out of Washington and get a fresh start, but that’s not an option.”

Rick Pender, a 65-year-old Cincinnati resident and fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, said he voted for Fitzgerald.

“I hope the Democrats in Ohio get their act together,” he said soon after the polls opened. “It seems the Republicans are in a strong position. I’m just hopeful the Democrats can have a good ticket and do better at becoming well-known to voters.”

Pender said the ultimate focus should be on the economy and job creation.

“That’s been Kasich’s strength, whether you agree with him or not,” he said. “It still needs to improve, especially with employment.”

Jim Flynn, a semi-retired executive recruiter from Toledo, voted in the Democrat primary for governor but had trouble for a moment remembering FitzGerald’s name. He admitted he didn’t know much about him.

Flynn normally leans toward Democrats but said he’s been impressed by Kasich’s first term. “He’s been a pleasant surprise,” he said. “I kind of like him, kind of.”

Kasich would get his vote right now over FitzGerald, Flynn said.

The biggest issue on his mind is still unemployment, even though it has gotten better, he said.

Voters also picked which U.S. House candidates will run in the fall; all 16 incumbents are running again.

Boehner, of West Chester, moved on to the general election in his bid for a 13th term representing western Ohio, despite unhappiness among some GOP voters about the federal deficit and immigration. Boehner beat two tea party opponents, high school teacher J.D. Winteregg and businessman Eric Gurr, in the 8th District.

Beck was among the 15 Republican incumbents in the Ohio House trying to defend their seats. Beck is accused of misleading investors about a company’s financial status and using their money for personal gain, allegations he denies.