Ex-CFPB Chief Cordray Wins Democratic Primary for Ohio Governor

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(Bloomberg) -- Richard Cordray, the former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, won the Democratic primary for Ohio governor Tuesday after promising to focus on families’ economic concerns.

Cordray, 59, defeated Dennis Kucinich, a former congressman and Cleveland mayor, and four other candidates for the party’s nomination, according to the Associated Press. Republican Governor John Kasich can’t seek re-election because of term limits. Attorney General Mike DeWine cruised to an easy victory in the Republican primary.

Kucinich had positioned himself as the more liberal candidate on issues such as supporting single-payer health insurance, banning assault weapons and legalizing marijuana. He was endorsed by Our Revolution, the organization founded by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders after his 2016 presidential campaign.

“In some ways, I wonder why he’s even running as a Democrat,” Kucinich said of Cordray in a May 7 interview on Bloomberg Radio.

Cordray said he is offering practical solutions to problems. He highlighted his work on behalf of consumers with former President Barack Obama and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who helped conceive and set up the CFPB and campaigned for Cordray in the state last month.

Obama won the Buckeye State twice and Republican Donald Trump carried it comfortably in 2016 by focusing on economic issues affecting everyday Ohioans, Cordray said. He promised do the same by working on matters such as preserving the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio under Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

“Having practical proposals that improve people’s economic lives is where it’s all about in Ohio, and that’s what we’re focused on,” Cordray said in a May 7 interview on Bloomberg Radio.

Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, treasurer and solicitor general, was appointed by Obama as the first CFPB director in 2012 and resigned in November to run for governor in his home state. Trump named Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as the bureau’s acting director.

On the Republican side in the Ohio governor’s race, DeWine, a former U.S. senator who defeated Cordray for attorney general in 2010, faced Mary Taylor, Kasich’s lieutenant governor.

Taylor tried to portray herself as closer to Trump’s views on illegal immigration and other issues than DeWine. In television ads, she called him “too liberal” and said “DC DeWine” voted with Hillary Clinton 962 times when they were both in the Senate.

DeWine has defended his record, calling himself a “rock-solid conservative.” He has run television ads questioning Taylor’s record and calling her “unfit” and “unqualified.”

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