It appears that Ed FitzGerald will have an opponent in the Democratic primary for governor: Larry Ealy, a candidate many people expected wouldn't qualify for the ballot and most have never heard of. The 51-year-old Trotwood resident describes himself as a civil rights advocate who says he’s been helping people in his community deal with legal issues.
“We have a problem with jobs, economics, financial institutes, learning institutes," says Ealy, who is currently unemployed. "Most minorities still today cannot receive loans and government benefits to help them with small business."
Ealy says he’s also worried about youth violence and guns, and wants to go into impoverished areas to, in his words, replace crack cocaine with paychecks, especially for jobless teens. He wants to do something about what he calls the mass incarceration rate, and would support legalizing marijuana and releasing all non-violent offenders with diagnosed mental illnesses; he also says his own legal troubles and run-ins with police led him to the race.
"All the poor black and minority communities have been deprived of due process in the United States. And I’ll be the first black governor in 203 years since this has been a state,” says Ealy.
Ealy is less concerned about Ed Fitzgerald, the Cuyahoga County Democrat he'll be facing in the primary election, than he is about challenging Republican Gov. John Kasich’s economic policies. “Kasich is the one who derailed citizens from several good paying jobs by some things in the law that he shouldn’t have passed."
To challenge Kasich, however, he has to beat FitzGerald in the May 6 primary. “I didn’t expect to run against FitzGerald – I know nothing about him," Ealy says. "But if he’s standing in the way of the first black governor, he’s got to go down."
Ealy has a campaign advisor, but admits he doesn’t have much of a campaign fund, and says so far, he’s been paying for his run for governor himself. He plans to go door-to-door and visit as many counties as he can before May.