Taylor names Hamilton businessman as running mate in governor race

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor announced Wednesday that Hamilton businessman Nathan Estruth will join her gubernatorial campaign as candidate for lieutenant governor.

Estruth, 50, retired Wednesday morning from his position as CEO of iMFLUX, a Procter & Gamble subsidiary, to join the campaign, an act that Taylor called “a big sacrifice.”

Taylor said Wednesday “is an exciting day” as she named Estruth her running mate at the City Gospel Mission in Cincinnati. Taylor called Estruth a “political outsider” and said he shares her “conservative values, cares about helping create new jobs for Ohio and is unafraid of challenging the status quo.”

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“The addition of Nathan Estruth to our team draws a clear line in the sand between the old guard, establishment pairing of career politicians like (Ohio Attorney General) Mike DeWine and (Ohio Secretary of State) Jon Husted and our ticket of conservative outsiders,” she said.

Taylor said Estruth, a nearly three-decade executive at P&G, has experience creating jobs, and “is a problem-solver, and that is exactly what we need in Columbus.”

Taylor picked Estruth because she wanted “a strong conservative leader with a history of fighting for conservative principles - not wavering on them.” She said she also wanted someone with “extensive” private sector experience “that cares about jobs, not poll results,” and will function as a chief operating officer to her role as the state’s chief executive.

Estruth spoke to a campaign supporters at the City Gospel Mission on Dalton Avenue in Cincinnati. He said he joined Taylor’s team because she “leads with courage” which is “done out a responsibility to serve others.”

“She believes as I do, ‘To whom much is given, much is required,’” said Estruth. “The opportunities and threats to Ohio families is too real for us to shy away from at this moment.”

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Estruth said politics are changing in Ohio, saying he’s “learning that there are some things that really stink in Columbus, and it’s not just the smoke from medical marijuana.”

“Some in Columbus, and in the state, play by the old political rule book: he who has the most money gets to win. Not this year,” he said. “Ohio doesn’t want or need a leader based on who can raise the most money, or who has waited for their turn.”

He also said “2018 for Ohio is too important to sit on the sidelines.”

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said this year’s race for GOP race for governor primary “is one giant race to the hard right” and Taylor’s pick for a running mate “is just one more example of how extreme the Ohio GOP has become.”

“If we want to build a stronger economy, we can’t afford to have leaders who have aligned themselves with groups that attack our fellow Ohioans, as the ‘Alliance Defending Freedom’ has done,” said Pepper of the group Estruth was a board member of for seven years. “When you look at whom Mary Taylor and Mike DeWine are choosing as their running mates and endorsers, it’s clear they want to be hyperpartisan culture warriors, dragging Ohio back into the center of nasty political and legal fights that hurt everyday Ohioans. This extremist agenda would make Ohio less attractive to businesses and families and put our economic future at risk.”

Estruth served on the Alliance Defending Freedom board from 2007 to 2014, and the Southern Poverty Law Center designated ADF as "a hate group." Alliance Defending Freedom describes itself as a conservative Christian nonprofit organization that advocates issues of "religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family."

Estruth was born in Scottsdale, Arizona but has lived in Ohio longer than any other place he’s lived. He started with P&G in 1991 and worked his way to led the Hamilton-based iMFLUX, an injection molding technology company, since May 2013. Prior to that job he was the P&G FutureWorks vice president.

The father of four received his bachelor’s degree in 1989 in political science from UCLA, studying international relations, according to the school. He currently serves on the board of directors at Fort Worth, Texas-based KPS Global, a private equity-backed business-to-business service and manufacturer of parts in the retail cooler industry.

Estruth also attended the first year of the public policy master’s program at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass., before joining P&G.

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