Petro wants to stay auditor; he leaves race for federal post

By Joshua Benton
Blade Columbus Bureau

Page 3

COLUMBUS — State Auditor Jim Petro will run for re-election next year and not hold out for a coveted federal post, he announced yesterday.

“There is a lot to be done in Ohio, and a lot still to be done in the auditor’s office,” Mr. Petro, a Republican elected in 1994, said.

Mr. Petro had been a candidate for the position of U.S. Comptroller General, which he called the federal equivalent of his current job, but he formally withdrew his name from consideration in a letter to U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (R., Tenn.), chairman of the governmental affairs committee.

“My friends in Congress were telling me I’m the leading contender for the job,” Mr. Petro said.

Mr. Petro also had been considered a possible 1998 gubernatorial candidate, but he repeated his support for Secretary of State Bob Taft in that race yesterday, calling him innovative and a good manager.

“He’s someone we’ve always trusted,” he said.

Mr. Petro and his family recently moved to Columbus from Rocky River, O., and he said that settling down in the capital influenced his decision.

The move helps Republicans in their attempt to keep their hold on the State Apportionment Board, which determines the boundaries of legislative districts and can give considerable clout to the party controlling it.

The board is made up of Ohio’s governor, secretary of state, and auditor, along with one Democrat and one Republican from the General Assembly.

The Republicans hold a 4-1 edge on the board now, but all three statewide offices are up for grabs next year.