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The man who would like to be Ohio’s next governor has been spending the past several days introducing himself to voters around the state, and on Friday he made a stop in the Valley.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald stopped briefly at the Sportsman’s Barber Shop in Austintown, promoting his platform that incumbent John Kasich’s plans for taxes will hurt small businesses like the barber shop.
FitzGerald, who has been traveling the state for quite a while criticizing the governor’s handling of transportation funding, said he’s got to work on his name recognition. He officially threw his hat into the ring on Wednesday.
“Our name ID right now in the state is about 25 percent. By the way, that’s about 10 percent more than John Kasich was at this point four years ago. And he was about 20 points behind Ted Strickland. We’re down by single digits right now, so its not a bad place to be,” FitzGerald said.
A statewide poll taken earlier this week showed Kasich, a Republican, ahead of FitzGerald in a head-to-head match up, but the poll also indicates 75 percent of those surveyed didn’t even know enough about the Democratic challenger to make an opinion.
“The challenger always starts out with not as many people knowing who he is. It’s been like that for me in every race I’ve ever been in, including when I was a county official and my name ID was about 10 percent. So I’ve been in tougher spots and I like the way it’s going in the last couple days,” FitzGerald said.
Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe said Ohioans don’t even know who FitzGerald is and in head-to-head poles, Kasich beats anybody that is matched up against him.
FitzGerald said 90 percent of the state knows who Gov. John Kasich is and less than half of them want him to be re-elected. He also pointed to other GOP officeholders with their own popularity issues, saying that could help the overall Democratic ticket.
“Most people in the state just voted against Josh Mandel just a few months ago, so I don’t think all the folks on their ticket are really gonna be a real advantage for them,” FitzGerald said.
However, Kasich’s approval numbers are now around 53 percent and his supporters say the state’s economy has improved significantly under the governor’s leadership.
“We’ve added over 100,000 jobs to Ohio since he’s become governor. Ohio’s credit rating has improved. The rainy day fund went from 89 cents to almost $2 billion,” Munroe said.