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FitzGerald cruises in governor race

Outcome sets up fall race against Kasich.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald easily defeated Larry Ealy, a former Dayton tow truck driver, to capture the Ohio Democratic Party nomination for governor and clear the way for him to take on incumbent Republican John Kasich in the November general election, according to unofficial results.

Early returns show FitzGerald was beating Ealy by a 4 to 1 ratio.

In prepared remarks, FitzGerald said Ohio is on the wrong track, “run by an administration that is dedicated to serving a small, privileged group of people, and ordinary Ohioans have been left out and stuck with the bill.”

The Kasich campaign said: “The governor’s record of creating jobs, balancing budgets and cutting taxes resonates with Ohioans across party lines and we look forward to talking about this strong record all the way to November.”

Kaisch has a slim lead — just 5 points — over FitzGerald, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released in mid-February. FitzGerald has to boost his profile statewide since 70 percent of voters don’t know enough about him to have an opinion, the survey found. And FitzGerald has just $1.5 million in campaign cash compared with Kasich’s $8.5 million.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly endorsed State Issue 1, a $1.8 billion bond issue for local infrastructure projects.

Issue 1 is a renewal and expansion of the state’s public works bond program, which over the past 27 years has funded some 11,500 projects. The vote authorizes the state to issue $1.875 billion in bonds over 10 years and use the money to pay for local bridge, road, sewer and water projects — $175 million a year for the first five years and $200 million a year for the second five years. Currently, the bond program generates $150 million a year for the projects.

The public works bond program was first approved in 1987 and then renewed in 1995 and 2005. The program shoulders half the cost for new projects and 90 percent for repair or replacement projects.

Kasich called the renewal “good news for our local communities who rely on this support to improve their roads, bridges and infrastructure.”

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