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Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor makes run for Ohio governor official

Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor has entered the 2018 gubernatorial race and says the great state of Ohio can be greater.

Taylor made the move official Friday at the City Club of Cleveland.

RELATED: Mary Taylor opens up about her sons’ opioid addictions

Taylor enters the crowded Republican field with the promised backing of GOP Gov. John Kasich. The 51-year-old Taylor is the final high-profile Republican expected to join the race to succeed Kasich, who is term-limited. The other three are Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, of Wadsworth.

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“This race will not be easy – but that’s just fine with me, because nothing important has ever come easily in my life,” Taylor said.

RELATED: Mary Taylor’s story shines spotlight on cost of drug treatment

Taylor revisited what she said were the Kasich administration’s key accomplishments, including righting the economy, reducing regulations, fighting opioid addiction and cutting taxes. She says there’s more to do.

In an exclusive interview, Taylor shared with Dayton Daily News Columbus Bureau reporter Laura Bischoff that her two sons have battle addiction to opioids.

On Friday, she said that will be a key focus of her campaign.

“When I’m governor I will continue to give my full commitment to confront and defeat the addiction epidemic,” Taylor said. “It has touched so many families, including mine. There is no commitment closer to my heart than this one.”

One of her GOP opponents, Renacci, was quick to respond to Taylor’s formal announcement. 

He criticized Taylor for what he says is a “second” campaign announcement.

In February she made an official candidacy filing and designated a treasurer to start raising money.

On the Democratic side, official candidates for governor so far include Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, former state Rep. Connie Pillich, D-Cincinnati and former Congresswoman Betty Sutton.

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