CLEVELAND - In announcing his run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination Wednesday, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald told reporters he intends to serve out the remaining 20 months of his term.
"I was elected to one term, I'm going to serve the term," FitzGerald said. "I'm going to run it out as fast as I can as strong as I can."
His decision to run though means he cannot seek a second term as county executive, creating an open race for what is the second most powerful elected executive position in the state behind governor.
It has been a launching pad to statewide politics in a short time for FitzGerald as it was in Pennsylvania for Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, who ran as the Democratic nominee for governor in 2010 losing to Republican Tom Corbett.
The person who ended up succeeding Onorato was the president of the Allegheny County Council, Rich Fitzgerald. In Cuyahoga County, the president of county council C. Ellen Connally said Wednesday she is considering running for the soon-to-be-open seat.
Among those also considering a run and were present for FitzGerald's announcement was Warrensville Heights Mayor and former NBA star Brad Sellers.
"I think there are a number of good people out here, one being myself. If that door was to open up, I would look at it," he said.
"The person that steps in and fills Ed's shoes has to be able to carry the ball forward and take this county and community forward in such a way that we've never seen before," Sellers said.
Another potential candidate, Chris Ronayne, agrees. The president of University Circle Inc. said time is on the side of those considering running.
"It's not a rush to the starting line. It's not about who can raise the most money; it should be about what people have to say about their plans and visions for Cuyahoga County," he said.
"I think one of the most important things as a citizen and as a prospective candidate is that we look to each other, to look at who is the best candidate for the county? Who’s got the plans and vision to make this county move forward?" Ronayne said.
Just like in 2010 though, when the seat was open, he expects there to be a primary.
"In most cases in Cuyahoga County in an open seat, there's a primary challenge and that's probably where we'll go," he said.
"We've got a year until the upcoming primary in 2014 and six months more after that so we've got a year and a half to actually get out a conversation in the community about where we ought to go next."