Furney to compete for minority leader

By Joshua Benton
Blade Columbus Bureau

Page 4

COLUMBUS — State Sen. Linda Furney (D., Toledo) will be running for the highest nonjudicial post a Democrat will hold in Ohio next year.

Ms. Furney yesterday announced her intentions of running for Senate minority leader against the current leader, Sen. Ben Espy (D., Columbus).

“I think that I can bring the kind of team-building we need as a caucus,” Ms. Furney said.

She easily won re-election Tuesday in Toledo’s 11th Senate District with more than 70 per cent of the vote. She became assistant minority leader in 1996. Before that, she was minority whip.

Mr. Espy – who also won re-election with more than 70 per cent of the vote – said he fully intends to run again, and that Ms. Furney told him of her intentions yesterday morning. “We have the kind of relationship where we can talk about that,” he said.

Whoever wins the post will lead the Senate’s 12 Democrats. There are 21 Republicans.

The two other Democratic leaders in the Senate are Minority Whip Jeffrey Johnson (D., Cleveland) and Assistant Minority Whip Leigh Herington (D., Kent). Mr. Johnson, who did not seek re-election, is facing federal charges of shaking down grocers for campaign contributions in exchange for favors.

No date for a caucus vote has been set, but it will be held before the end of the year.