By John Celock
A Republican candidate for Ohio governor has tapped a city councilwoman from Cincinnati as his running mate for lieutenant governor.
U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci announced last week that Cincinnati Councilwoman Amy Murray would join his ticket in the GOP primary. Renacci, one of three GOP candidates for the open governor’s mansion, is the second Republican to tap a running mate for lieutenant governor.
Renacci described Murray, who was reelected to the City Council last month, as a conservative in making the announcement. Renacci’s pick diversifies his ticket geographically, giving the northern Ohio congressman inroads in to the southern part of the state.
Renacci’s decision comes several weeks after state Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) tapped Secretary of State Jon Husted as his running mate in the GOP primary. Husted dropped his own gubernatorial bid to run with DeWine, who is viewed as the GOP frontrunner. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor (R) has not tapped her own running mate in the GOP primary. None of the six Democrats running for governor has tapped a running mate. Gov. John Kasich (R) is term limited.
Murray, a former Proctor and Gamble executive, was appointed to an open City Council seat in 2011, but defeated that year. She was elected to the Council in 2013.
If elected Murray would be Ohio’s fifth female lieutenant governor, following Taylor, Republican Jennette Bradley, Republican Maureen O’Connor and Republican Nancy Hollister. Hollister was briefly Ohio’s first female governor and O’Connor now is Ohio’s chief justice.
Ohio’s lieutenant governor has no official duties other than to succeed the governor, with the governor crafting duties for the lieutenant governor. Taylor has been tasked by Kasich with running a regulatory reform initiative and serving as state insurance director, while her predecessor, Democrat Lee Fischer, headed the state’s economic development agency.
Murray is the second member of the Cincinnati City Council to seek statewide office in recent years. In 2016, Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld (D) unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Sittenfeld has endorsed former state Attorney General Rich Cordray for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.