FitzGerald responds to criticism at Niles event

campaign signs

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Outside of McMenamy’s Banquet Center in Niles, there were dozens of campaign signs for the Democratic candidates speaking Thursday night at the “Come Together With the AFL-CIO” dinner.

However, any signs for the man at the top of the ticket, governor candidate Ed FitzGerald, were noticeably absent. FitzGerald has come under much scrutiny since revelations about a 2012 incident when he was found by police late at night parked with a woman who was not his wife.

After that incident, it was revealed FitzGerald did not have a driver’s license for a decade, even while driving public vehicles. This week, the New York Times published a candid interview with Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern in which he vented frustration with FitzGerald.

“I’ve never met a former FBI agent who doesn’t have a driver’s license. It’s akin to saying, ‘Damn, I should have my umbrella’ after it rains,” Redfern was quoted as saying.

When reporter Lauren Wood asked FitzGerald about it at Thursday’s event, he vented his own frustrations with the media.

“I’ll tell you what I think the media ought to do is talk about the issues, to be honest with you,” he said.

Wood also asked his thoughts on a Quinnipac pollster’s statement to the Columbus Dispatch that his campaign failures could hurt other Democratic candidates.

“Like I just told you, what I talk about is issues. We support the state party. They support us. We are all running together as a team. And what I think everybody has a responsibility to do is to have an election that is actually about issues, not gossip, not rumors,” FitzGerald said.

Other candidates at the dinner said they were not concerned.

“I have never needed the top of the ticket to win my race. In 2012, Mitt Romney won in my district. I won my race. I have always had a lot of cross party support,” said Connie Pillich, who is running for Ohio Treasurer against incumbent Josh Mandel.

“I have been running all this time without Mr. FitzGerald. I will continue to run that way. Again, I was the highest vote getter in the Democratic primary. We are going to keep running a strong race,” said Nina Turner, who is running for Ohio Secretary of State against incumbent Jon Husted.

Turner also said she was disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to delay early voting in Ohio by one week. It will now start on Tuesday.

“But for the current Secretary of State asking the Supreme Court for an emergency stay, people would have been able to vote this Tuesday. It really is a sad day for Ohio. But I want to encourage voters in this great state to utilize the days and the opportunities that we do have to make their voices heard,” Turner said.

The ruling eliminates the week when voters could register and vote at the same time. Early voting will be available Saturdays and Sundays once it begins.

For more information on statewide races, voting hours and polling places, click here.

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