Former Ohio speaker to run for Secretary of State in 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio – State Sen. Jon Husted said yesterday he will run for Ohio secretary of state in 2010, in what is likely to be one of the year’s most hotly contested statewide races. Husted, 41, a Republican from the Dayton area, said he will be running to replace Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat who plans to run for U.S. Senate next year. Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown has already announced her candidacy on the Democratic side. Ohioans will also choose their governor, state auditor, treasurer, attorney general and one of their U.S. Senators in 2010. Republicans will attempt to bounce back from disappointing elections in 2006 and 2008, while Democrats try to build on their newfound statewide success. Republicans have high hopes for Husted, whose run was made easier by Brunner’s Senate plans. Husted said he will push to take away much of the secretary of state’s authority to run elections, even as he runs for the office himself. The former Ohio House speaker said he is looking at models in other states where decisions about elections are made in a bipartisan process. In Ohio, the elections chief is a partisan official whose decisions often are criticized by the opposing party. ‘Every candidate for secretary of state says they’re going to ensure fair and impartial elections,’ Husted said. ‘But my commitment doesn’t end there. I’m going to change the system.’ Brunner was lambasted by Republicans for issuing directives – such as one recognizing a week-long window in which Ohioans could register and cast a ballot on the same day – they said benefited her own political party. Brunner’s predecessor, Republican Ken Blackwell, received the same type of accusations from Democrats. Husted said he would put in place a bipartisan advisory group to review directives before they are issued. ‘This will build confidence in our election system, providing stability and clarity for local elections officials and minimizing the political games that the campaigns and the political parties play in the days leading up to the election,’ Husted said.