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Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune
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Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune announces bid for Ohio governor mansion

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CINCINNATI – Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune announced he will challenge fellow Democrat Ed FitzGerald in their party's primary for governor of Ohio in May.

In an exclusive interview with WCPO anchor Tanya O'Rourke Portune confirmed his decision.

"I’m announcing today that I am a candidate," Portune said. "I am forming a committee."

Portune stated on Dec. 12 that he was undergoing a review of the political climate in the state as to whether or not it made sense for him to run for governor.

The Hamilton County commissioner collected the necessary paperwork to file with the Ohio State Board of Elections. He has until February to do that.

"There are some people who say, well Todd, you’re too late," Portune said.

He pointed out FitzGerald had not yet filed with the state yet either. Neither candidate can file until each has selected a running mate in terms of a lieutenant governor, Portune told O'Rourke.

Fitzgerald, the Cuyahoga County Executive’s campaign to challenge Republican incumbent John Kasich, hit a rough spot late in 2013 when his running mate for lieutenant governor, State Senator Eric Kearney, withdrew from the race under pressure surrounding poor vetting.

Even with that bump in FitzGerald's road, he has somewhat of a head start against Portune. FitzGerald officially kicked off his campaign for the state office on Aug. 24.

Portune said he's narrowed down his own list of possible running mates to five, though he was unwilling to announce who those candidates were.

Ohio’s primary will be held May 6, 2014.

Portune has served as a Hamilton County commissioner since 2000.

The last person to run for governor from the region was former Cincinnati mayor Kenneth Blackwell in 2006. He lost to Democrat Ted Strickland.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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