Influential Ohio Democrats are trying to recruit TV show host and former Cincinnati mayor Jerry Springer to run for Ohio governor in 2018, Business Insider reports.
Several Ohio Democrats familiar with the race told Business Insider that Springer would be a good candidate for the job in this political climate under President Trump because he has a background in Ohio politics, can connect with working-class voters through his TV show The Jerry Springer Show, and the ability to self-finance his campaign.
Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said that Springer discussed a potential run with former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, as well as several other Democrats who say Springer is considering the idea of running for office more seriously than in the past.
Springer served as mayor of Cincinnati, which is located in Hamilton County, in the late 1970s.
Strickland said he discussed a potential run with Springer, but also spoke with other potential candidates. He added that it was “a little early” to make an endorsement, but said Springer would have “wide name recognition” should he throw his hat into the ring.
“I think he has a very strong ability to communicate what I think is the heart of the Democratic message,” Strickland said, citing Springer’s speeches to delegations at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. “I think he is a superb communicator.”
His scheduled speaking engagements are also fueling speculation that he might run. The talk-show host is slated to be a keynote speaker at the Geauga County Democratic Party dinner in June and was also the keynote speaker for the Sandusky County Democratic Party dinner in April, where he said he “did not need to run for office,” WNWO reported.
Burke said Springer does a lot of events with the party at the county level each year.
“Whenever he does them, he always draws a good crowd. He continues to have a very real interest in Ohio politics,” Burke said.
Springer did not confirm or deny his plans for office in a statement.
“The issue of me running for political office frequently comes up because I am constantly touring around, giving speeches and raising money for the party,” Springer said.
“Truthfully, I’ve been doing that for at least the last 30 years as a private citizen because I believe joining the conversation is part of being a good citizen. If I do ever decide to throw my hat in the ring … I will let people know. At this point…I don’t even have a hat,” he added.
Springer told the Cincinnati Enquirer in February that he describes himself as a “populist, liberal progressive” who could be “Trump without the racism,” while addressing rumors that he might run for office.