Whaley asks party to be neutral in gubernatorial primary

Ohio governor candidate Nan Whaley is calling on the Democratic Party to refrain from making an endorsement in the primary race between her and former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio governor candidate Nan Whaley is calling on the Democratic Party to refrain from making an endorsement in the primary race between her and former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, saying she wants the party to be unified this fall.

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Whaley's announcement Tuesday comes after some of the state's well-known Democrats suggested that party leaders remain neutral in the primary.

“We believe this is the best route to avoid internal squabbling and position us for a win this November,” Whaley, a former Dayton mayor, said on Twitter.

Democrats have been shut out of the governor’s office since 2010. The party didn’t take sides in the 2018 Democratic primary.

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Credit: John Minchillo

Credit: John Minchillo

Screeners from the Ohio Democratic Party’s Executive Committee were set to meet Tuesday to decide whether to recommend anyone before a full vote in mid-February.

Supporters of Cranley were worried the screening panel was poised to back Whaley and didn’t want her to have the cash and other advantages that come with an endorsement. She already has the backing of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the state’s highest-ranking Democrat.