Cordray Announces Bid for Ohio Governor After Leaving CFPB

(Bloomberg) -- Richard Cordray, whose resignation as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sparked a battle over the agency’s leadership, officially announced that he’s running for governor of Ohio and pledged to focus on issues that are important to working families.

“I will deliver results, and I’ll do it the Ohio way, the way I’ve always done things,” Cordray, a Democrat, said Tuesday at a diner in his suburban Columbus hometown of Grove City. “Not by stirring conflict, sowing division or pitting people against one other. We’re seeing way too much of that from Washington D.C.”

Cordray touted his work at the CFPB including enforcement actions against banks and other institutions that he said secured $12 billion in recoveries for consumers. He said he will continue to work on issues such as the cost of health care and college, and saving for retirement.

Cordray designated Mary Ellen Withrow who was U.S. treasurer under former President Bill Clinton and also was a former Ohio treasurer, as his campaign treasurer in paperwork filed with the Ohio Secretary of State. She will also be a co-chairman of the campaign, Cordray said.

CFPB Fight

Ohio Democrats have been expecting to Cordray to join the race after he resigned from the consumer bureau Nov. 24 and named his chief of staff, Leandra English, as acting director. President Donald Trump separately picked Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to be the agency’s interim leader, triggering a fight for control of the regulator. Last week, a federal judge rejected English’s request to temporarily block Mulvaney’s appointment.

Cordray said he spoke recently with former President Barack Obama and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, who recruited him for the CFPB job, adding that they are both supporting his campaign. Obama considers the work at the bureau “an important part of his legacy,” Cordray said.

Cordray is a former attorney general of Ohio who lost a bid for re-election in 2010 and also previously served as the state’s treasurer, solicitor general and as a state representative. Ohio’s current governor, Republican John Kasich, can’t seek re-election when his second term ends in early 2019.

Cordray joins a crowded Democratic primary field. At least four other candidates appeared at a debate Monday night in Cleveland.

Republican Competition

There’s a potential primary on the Republican side as well, featuring established Ohio party officeholders and U.S. Representative Jim Renacci, who is running as a political outsider with the theme of “putting Ohio first” akin to Trump’s “make America great again.”

Republican Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced last week that Secretary of State Jon Husted was dropping his bid for governor and becoming his running mate as a lieutenant governor candidate. Mary Taylor, Kasich’s running mate and the current lieutenant governor, is also running for the Republican nomination.

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