FitzGerald Names Dayton-Area Lawyer As Running Mate

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Democratic gubernatorial contender Ed FitzGerald has chosen a Dayton-area lawyer who supports abortion rights in his second time picking a running mate.

FitzGerald announced his choice of Sharen Swartz Neuhardt in an email to campaign supporters Friday.

Neuhardt brings geographic and gender diversity to the ticket that FitzGerald, an Irish Catholic from Cleveland, has sought in taking on Republican Governor John Kasich this fall.

Fitzgerald Friday confirmed to the Columbus Dispatch that his selection of Neuhardt was aimed at Kasich’s policies on women.

“Women have been disproportionally affected by the meager economic performance of the last couple of years. So they’re living the reality of Gov. Kasich’s economic policies,” he told the paper.

Several controversial abortion-related amendments were added at the last minute to the state’s two-year budget while it passed through the legislature last year.

Those provisions remained in the budget when the house and senate approved the final version of the budget in late June.

“I am appalled, absolutely appalled, at what the Republican-controlled legislature and the Governor have been doing on women’s health issues. It makes me ashamed,” Neuhardt said in an interview.

The 62-year-old Neuhardt graduated from Georgetown University's law school and is a partner at Thompson Hine in Dayton. She made two failed bids for Congress, in 2008 and 2012. But she maintains her lack of time in politics could be an asset.

“I think there are voters in this state that are looking at career politicians with a little bit of a jaundiced eye, particularly at the federal level, but the state as well,” Neuhardt said. “I think it’s an advantage not to be just another politician.”

FitzGerald first selected state Sen. Eric Kearney, a Cincinnati lawyer who is black, as his No. 2. But Kearney withdrew after revelations that he had hefty tax liens.

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