Democrat Nan Whaley drops out of the governor's race, endorses Richard Cordray

Mayor Nan Whaley

Mayor Nan Whaley

As former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich prepared to enter the race for Ohio governor and another candidate appeared ready to bow out, the choices for Ohio Democrats this spring began to come into focus.

Whaley launched an outsider campaign eight months ago. She was the only candidate in the race who had never served in Columbus or Washington, D.C.

Whaley's departure would leave just one woman vying for the Democratic nomination in a race that started as an all-female showdown. Former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton abandoned her gubernatorial bid Wednesday to sign on as Cordray's running mate. Before serving as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under both Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican President Donald Trump, Cordray was a state treasurer and state attorney general. Former state Rep. Connie Pillich, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill fill out the rest of the Democratic field of five.

The victor will face either Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine or Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor in the November election.

Schiavoni said in a statement after years of failure by Democrats to take the governor's spot, Whaley's decision was a mistake. I consider her a friend.