COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's Republican and Democratic gubernatorial front-runners are headed toward a primary-free showdown, ending a shakeout marked by complaints that both major parties got too aggressive in pushing out challengers.
The Democrats had a primary looming until last Friday, when Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune quietly withdrew his late bid against Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.
The Republican primary field was cleared for GOP Gov. John Kasich earlier in January. That's when tea party favorite Ted Stevenot left the race less than a week after joining it. Tea party activists who don't consider Kasich conservative enough talked about other possible candidates, but none moved forward.
Portune and Stevenot said they would have liked to take their campaigns farther, but party pressure got in the way.