Ed FitzGerald

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Ed FitzGerald
Ed Fitzgerald.jpg
Cuyahoga County Executive
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Mayor of Lakewood, Ohio
2007 - 2010
Bachelor'sOhio State University (1990)
J.D.Cleveland–Marshall College of Law (1993)
Date of birthJuly 10, 1968
Personal website
Campaign website
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Ed FitzGerald (b. July 10, 1968) is the Cuyahoga County Executive and was a Democratic candidate for Governor of Ohio in the 2014 elections.[1][2] He was previously mayor of Lakewood, Ohio from 2007 to 2010.

FitzGerald's running mate in the 2014 Ohio governor race was Sharen Neuhardt. He initially chose state Senator Eric Kearney but Kearney withdrew from the race due to personal tax issues.[3][4] Ed FitzGerald lost the general election on November 4, 2014.[5][6]


FitzGerald began his career as a special agent with the FBI. In this role he was assigned to the Organized Crime Task Force in Chicago, investigating political corruption and mafia influence. After leaving the FBI he returned to Ohio, serving as an assistant county prosecutor. In 2007 he was elected Mayor of Lakewood and in 2010 elected as Cuyahoga County Executive.[7]


  • Bachelor's degree, Ohio State University, 1990
  • Cleveland–Marshall College of Law, 1993


FitzGerald announces his formation of an exploratory committee for 2014 bid to unseat Gov. John Kasich


See also: Ohio gubernatorial election, 2014

On March 11, 2013, FitzGerald filed campaign committee paperwork with the Ohio Secretary of State enabling him to begin fundraising for the 2014 Ohio gubernatorial election. FitzGerald had yet to officially declare his candidacy, despite releasing a 3-minute video spot to accompany his committee filings. "Today I'm announcing the formation of an exploratory committee to run for governor; But more than that, I'm beginning a conversation with you, the people of Ohio," he said in the video.[8] FitzGerald confirmed his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor on April 24, 2013.[1][9] Republican incumbent Gov. John Kasich ran for re-election in 2014.[10] FitzGerald won the primary on May 6, 2014. The general election took place on November 4, 2014.


Primary election
Governor/Lt. Governor of Ohio - Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngEd FitzGerald/Sharen Neuhardt 83.1% 366,056
Larry Ealy/Ken Gray 16.9% 74,197
Total Votes 440,253
Election Results via Ohio Secretary of State.
General election
Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Kasich/Mary Taylor Incumbent 63.6% 1,944,848
     Democratic Ed FitzGerald/Sharen Neuhardt 33% 1,009,359
     Green Anita Rios/Bob Fitrakis 3.3% 101,706
Total Votes 3,055,913
Election Results via Ohio Secretary of State.


Race background

Incumbent Republican John Kasich appeared to be vulnerable in late 2013, as it looked like he would face a primary challenge from the right and a general election made difficult by a full slate of Ohio Libertarian Party candidates. These challenges faded in early 2014, as Kasich faced no primary challengers and the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate was disqualified. Though he still faced two opponents, Democratic Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Green Party candidate Anita Rios, polling in May 2014 showed Kasich with improved ratings and a growing lead.[14]

In August 2014, The Washington Post reported on a series of setbacks for FitzGerald, including poor fundraising, a long-delayed driver's license, an unusual occurrence with a foreign trade representative and a major staff turnover.[15] These events took a heavy toll on FitzGerald's poll numbers, as Kasich's lead widened from single digits to 30 percent in September, according to a Columbus Dispatch poll.[16]

Potential candidates
See also: Ballot access requirements in Ohio

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan had been considered a strong potential Democratic candidate for the 2014 Ohio gubernatorial election, but ultimately opted against entering the race in March of 2013. He decided that challenging incumbent Gov. John Kasich (R) was not worth forfeiting his seat in the U.S. House, particularly in light of his reappointment to the influential Appropriations Committee in the 113th Congress.[17] [18][19]

Tea Party primary challenge

Ted Stevenot, an Ohio Tea Party leader, had planned to announce a primary challenge to incumbent Governor Kasich.[20] In early January 2014, however, Stevenot and his running mate, Brenda Mack, decided not to challenge Kasich.[21] In his prepared statement, Stevenot said that his running mate's financial history, which had been the subject of recent critical news coverage, was not part of his consideration to withdraw.[22]

Signature controversies
Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Party of Ohio had intended to file a full slate of candidates to contest each election. All of these candidates failed to make it on to the ballot because the Ohio Secretary of State threw out enough signatures to disqualify them.[23]

On March 7, 2014, the Libertarian gubernatorial ticket was stricken from the ballot, having initially gotten the Secretary of State's approval, after a legal challenge from a self-identified Libertarian voter.[24] The challenge alleged that Charlie Earl's signature-gathering effort had been led by Democrats but Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted struck Charlie Earl from the ballot on a technicality instead of accepting this reasoning. He found that some of the signature gatherers had failed to properly identify their employer on the correct form and therefore threw out the signatures they had gathered.[25] The legal challenge may affect more than this one candidacy: according to Ballot Access News, "With no gubernatorial candidate on the November ballot, the party will lose its status as a qualified party," which could have consequences in future elections.[26] The Libertarian Party of Ohio failed to win an injunction against this disqualification twice at the district court level and, after a similarly unsuccessful appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for emergency relief that would have allowed Charlie Earl to appear on the May 6 primary ballot. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case.[27]On May 2, The Supreme Court rejected the petition.[28] On June 4, a petition for re-hearing before the full Sixth Circuit was rejected, leaving an appeal to the district court as the only possible source of redress.[29][30]

This is one of several complications arsing from new ballot access rules. The rules set vote thresholds that no third parties had met. They would effectively eliminate third parties from the May primary ballots. As it stands, only two Green Party and two Libertarian candidates will be in the general and all four were emergency write-in candidates, not their parties' original choices, who qualified for the general election by receiving enough write-in votes in the primary. Additionally, with no candidate for governor, the Libertarian Party of Ohio will cease to exist as a political party with ballot placement as it cannot achieve the 2 percent of votes necessary to retain its status.[27]

Green Party

Both of the Green Party's candidates were also disqualified for signature-related issues. Two alternative candidates filed to run as write-ins on the Green Party line: Anita Rios and Bob Fitrakis for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, respectively. To get on the November ballot, Rios and Fitrakis needed to receive 500 write-in votes in the primary on May 6. They succeeded and participated in the general election.[31]


Ohio Governor's Race 2014 - Kasich vs. Fitzgerald
Poll John Kasich Ed FitzgeraldOtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Quinnipiac University Poll
February 12-17, 2014
Magellan Strategies for the Liberty Foundation of America
April 14-15, 2014
April 24-28, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
May 7-8, 2014
May 7-12, 2014
July 7-24, 2014
July 24-28, 2014
August 18, September 2, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
September 8-9, 2014
Columbus Dispatch
September 3-12, 2014
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
October 16-23, 2014
The Columbus Dispatch
October 22-31, 2014
AVERAGES 50.25% 36% 13.5% +/-2.97 1,536.58
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.
Ohio Governor's Race 2014
Poll John Kasich Ed FitzgeraldCharlie EarlNot sureMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
(November 5-6, 2013)
Public Policy Polling
(December 6-8, 2013)
AVERAGES 40.5% 39.5% 6% 14.5% +/-3.55 803
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.


FitzGerald was elected as Cuyahoga County Executive in the general election on November 2, 2010.[32]

Cuyahoga County Executive General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Matt Dolan 30.3% 124,719
     Green David H. Ellison 1.5% 6,193
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngEdward FitzGerald 45.7% 188,475
     - Ken Lanci 11.4% 47,110
     - Tim McCormack 8.2% 33,760
     Nonparty Don Scipione 2.9% 11,897
Total Votes 412,154


FitzGerald and his wife Shannon have four children: Jack, Connor, Colleen and Bridget.[2]

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See also

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Columbus Dispatch, "Kasich focused on his own re-election bid," November 8, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ed FitzGerald for Ohio, "About Ed," accessed March 13, 2013
  3. Bucyrus Telegraph Forum, "Gov. candidate FitzGerald chooses Cincinnati state senator as 2014 running mate," November 20, 2013
  4. The Columbus Dispatch, "Eric Kearney out as Ed FitzGerald's running mate for governor's race," December 10, 2013
  5. Cincinnati.com, "Election 2014," accessed November 4, 2014
  6. NBC News, "Decision 2014 – Ohio Governor," accessed November 4, 2014
  7. Facebook, "Ed FitzGerald," accessed April 24, 2013
  8. Ed FitzGerald for Ohio, "Home," accessed March 13, 2013
  9. FOX 28, "Cleveland Dem Enters 2014 Governor Race," April 24, 2013
  10. Columbus Dispatch, "Kasich focused on his own re-election bid," November 8, 2012
  11. Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Ohio governor's race: Former Gov. Ted Strickland passes torch to fellow Democrat Ed FitzGerald," July 29, 2013
  12. Cleveland.com, "Ohio AFL-CIO backs Ed FitzGerald for governor," October 7, 2013
  13. Cleveland.com, "U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge endorses Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald for governor," November 29, 2013
  14. Quinnipiac, "Ohio Gov Roars Past Little Known Challenger, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Support For Life Options Outweighs Death Penalty," May 14, 2014
  15. The Washington Post, "The remarkable implosion of Ed FitzGerald," August 26, 2014
  16. Columbus Dispatch, "Ohio governor: Kasich ahead by 30 points in new poll," September 14, 2014
  17. VIndy.com, "Ryan decides not to run for governor," March 16, 2013
  18. The Plain Dealer-Sun News, "Rep. Tim Ryan considering a run for Ohio governor," April 25, 2012
  19. Plain Dealer, "Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to pass on rematch with John Kasich," January 8, 2013
  20. Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Tea party leader takes first step toward challenging John Kasich in GOP primary," January 6, 2014
  21. Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Tea Party primary challenge to Kasich fizzles," January 6, 2014
  22. Ohio Liberty Coalition, "Stevenot Decides Not to Run for Governor," January 6, 2014
  23. The Plain Dealer, "Ed FitzGerald faces only primary among statewide candidates; Libertarians fail to field full slate," March 10, 2014
  24. Akron Beacon Journal Online, "Libertarian governor candidate challenged in Ohio," March 10, 2014
  25. The Republic, "Ohio elections chief disqualifies 2 Libertarian candidates from May primary after protests," March 10, 2014
  26. Ballot Access News, "Ohio Secretary of State Removes Libertarian Party Statewide Candidates from the Libertarian Primary Ballot," March 10, 2014
  27. 27.0 27.1 Libertarian Party of Ohio v. Jon Husted, "APPLICATION FOR STAY AND EMERGENCY INJUNCTION ADDRESSED TO JUSTICE KAGAN," accessed May 2, 2014
  28. The Republic, "Ohio Libertarians' ballot plea denied at US Supreme Court, re-filed with 2nd justice," May 2, 2014
  29. Ballot Access News, "Sixth Circuit Won’t Rehear Ohio Libertarian Party Ballot Access Case," June 4, 2014
  30. Seymour Tribune, "Legal options trimmed for Libertarian Ohio governor candidate; federal court won't rehear case," June 4, 2014
  31. Ballot Access News, "Ohio Green Party Still Has Chance to Qualify its Gubernatorial Candidate for the November Ballot," March 24, 2014
  32. Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, "General election results – November 2, 2010," accessed April 24, 2013