A major endorsement for Connie Pillich

Connie Pillich

(Columbus) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Connie Pillich got the backing of former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on Tuesday, and the two plan on hitting the campaign trail.

The Democratic stalwart's backing could be an important  asset to Pillich, a former state representative, as she seeks to  distinguish herself from the crowded Democratic field.

Six Democrats are vying for the chance to succeed  Republican Gov. John Kasich, who is term-limited and unable to seek  re-election.

Former federal consumer watchdog Richard Cordray joined  the race last week and embarked on a cross-state "kitchen table tour." A  former Ohio attorney general with likely support from former President Barack Obama,  he is viewed as among Democrats' best chances of taking back the helm  of the bellwether state next year.

The plainspoken Rendell is another Democratic powerhouse,  however. He has been mayor of Philadelphia and chairman of the  Democratic National Committee.

He said in a statement that Pillich is the best choice of  the Democratic field, which also includes former U.S. Rep. Betty  Sutton, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni and Ohio  Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill.

"I've got a reputation for being blunt, so I won't mince  words: Connie Pillich will be a darn good governor of Ohio," he said.  "As a former Air Force captain, a public defender and state  representative, Connie knows a thing or two about leadership. I'm proud  to endorse her candidacy and I'll stump like hell to get her elected."

(Photo courtesy Pillich for Governor Campaign)

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