CINCINNATI -- An Obama administration holdover under heat in Washington and a tabloid TV host made their presence known at Ohio Labor Day events Monday amid speculation both could join the 2018 governor’s race.
In Cleveland, former Cincinnati mayor Jerry Springer stepped out for a Labor Day parade as he mulls a run for governor.
The 73-year-old tabloid TV host appeared at a parade and rally supporting union rights and a $15 minimum wage.
The Democrat was joined by health care workers, librarians, security guards and other members of the Service Employees International Union.
“We have to fight back! Working-class America is under attack. Keep up the fight,” Springer said at a Monday morning rally.
His appearance comes as Hamilton County Democratic Chairman Tim Burke says Springer is “seriously considering” whether to join the crowded 2018 governor’s race. Burke wasn’t sure when Springer planned to make his decision.
Springer made a failed bid for governor in 1982 and twice considered running for U.S. Senate. He bounced back from a prostitution scandal in the 1970s to win election to a term in the mayor's office.
In Cincinnati, Richard Cordray spoke at a high-profile Labor Day picnic where he promoted the work of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a target of Republicans who say it hinders business growth. Some Republicans contend political ambitions are influencing Cordray’s work.
“This has been hard work,” he said, highlighting Monday’s AFL-CIO picnic at Coney Island. The agency that he heads has made “important steps forward” to protect consumers, said Cordray, the former Ohio treasurer and attorney general.
He declined to answer any questions about a run for governor.
Hundreds gathered at the Cincinnati picnic’s speaker area, fewer than the thousands-strong crowds for better-known politicians in past years such as Bill Clinton in 2016. Former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have also addressed the picnic.
Local candidates mingled with visitors as grills sizzled with burgers, ribs, hotdogs and brats. But many people weren’t focused on Ohio’s 2018 governor’s race.
“I haven’t paid a lot of attention to it yet,” said Gene Boshears, 61, a steelworker from the Cincinnati suburb of Delhi Township. A supporter of President Donald Trump, he said he’ll “vote for getting jobs for Ohio.”
So far, four Republicans and four Democrats are in the race to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. Democrats will debate Sept. 12.
Associated Press Writer Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus contributed to this report.