COLUMBUS -- Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor filed paperwork Feb. 23 forming a gubernatorial campaign committee -- the first to do so among a handful of Republicans expected to jump into that race.
In a released statement, Taylor announced the new "Mary Taylor for Governor" and the designation of a treasurer. She also has stepped down as honorary chairwoman of the Onward Ohio PAC.
The release noted a formal announcement later this year, but the filings enable Taylor to begin campaigning now.
"First, we are blessed to live in an amazing country where conservative reform is coming, and I'm ready to lead this fight in Ohio," Taylor said in a released statement. "I care deeply about our state, our people, and the future we can build by working together. We turned Ohio in a new direction and we've seen what's possible in our communities when we rein in government, put people first, and ensure everyone has a fair shot at the American Dream. My priorities are jobs, strengthening families, fixing education and cutting red tape so government is accountable. I want the job of serving Ohioans as our next governor and this is an important step forward."
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper slammed the Taylor campaign Feb. 23, saying in a released statement, "Mary Taylor's clueless campaign announcement today shows just how out of touch she is from the reality of working families in Ohio. When she says the Kasich-Taylor team has 'turned Ohio in a new direction,' we should be crystal clear about what that means Kasich and Taylor's failed, trickle-down policies are to blame for the disastrous state of Ohio's economy, our cash-strapped communities and schools and the escalating opioid crisis."
Taylor is a former state auditor and lawmaker. As lieutenant governor, she has headed the state's insurance department and the Common Sense Initiative, launched by the governor's administration to cut burdensome business regulations.
A certified public accountant, she holds a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master's in taxation from the University of Akron.
Taylor is expected to have company in what could be a crowded 2018 gubernatorial field, with Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine expected to run. Republican Congressman Jim Renacci's name also has been mentioned among possible contenders.
Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for Gatehouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.