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Cincinnati Democrat Connie Pillich expected to leave governor’s race

Former state representative Connie Pillich — the last woman leading a Democratic ticket for governor — is expected to drop out of the race and endorse former attorney general Rich Cordray on Wednesday, sources close to the campaign said.

Pillich, who could not be reached for comment, and her running mate Scott Schertzer are scheduled to make a campaign announcement with Cordray and his running mate Betty Sutton in Columbus.

Pillich, of Cincinnati, is an attorney and Air Force veteran who lost a statewide race for treasurer against Republican Josh Mandel in 2014. In her run for governor, she reported $911,656 in campaign cash on hand — a little less than half of the $2-million the Cordray campaign reported.

Related: Governor race: DeWine, Cordray each raise $2M but DeWine has more cash

Cordray, of Grove City, resigned as head of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in November so he could return to Ohio for the governor’s race. Sutton dropped her governor’s bid and joined Cordray’s ticket. The other woman in the race, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, also dropped out and backed Cordray.

Cordray still has competition in the May 8 Democratic primary: former Ohio Supreme Court justice Bill O’Neill, former U.S. representative Dennis Kucinich, Cleveland Clinic physician Jon Heavey, political newcomer Paul E. Ray, former Dayton male stripper and tow truck driver Larry Ealy, and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, each filed petitions. Election officials expect to certify those petitions by Feb. 21.

In the Republican primary, Attorney General Mike DeWine is facing off against Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. DeWine won the backing from the Ohio Republican Party state central committee, over strenuous objections from Taylor.

Related: Ohio GOP endorses DeWine for governor; Renacci for U.S. Senate

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