Before former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland took the microphone Monday at a campaign event in Marietta, he got a vote of confidence from Reno resident Rich Weisend.
"You run for anything, you will get my vote," said Weisend, 65.
Strickland isn't on the 2012 ballot, but he's busy campaigning for state and federal candidates. Marietta was his third stop Monday helping state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, meet and greet people in the counties he hopes to represent after the state's legislative districts realign next year.
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland greets Marietta resident Joan Dearth Monday afternoon at a campaign event for Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, at American Legion Post 64 in Marietta.
But some are already speculating Strickland may run again for the office he held from 2007 to 2010, setting up a rematch with incumbent Gov. John Kasich in 2014.
The former governor and U.S. Congressman from southeast Ohio on Monday said he's considering it.
"I want to keep the door open," Strickland said before speaking to a friendly crowd of more than 40 at American Legion Post 64 in Marietta. "I'll decide by the end of the year."
By the numbers
Potential 2014 gubernatorial matchups
John Kasich vs.
- Ted Strickland - 47-40, Strickland.
- Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray - 42-42.
- U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan - 41-40, Ryan.
Source: Public Policy Polling.
Strickland said he'll spend the next several months campaigning for fellow Democrats like Gentile, as well as U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and President Barack Obama.
"We are facing what I believe to be the most important political decision that this country has faced in the last 70 years," he said.
Strickland described the election as a choice between continuing policies that helped reverse the disastrous financial situation Obama inherited or returning to the policies that put the country in that predicament by electing Republican Mitt Romney.
After the upcoming election, Strickland plans to make a decision whether to run for governor again.
"If I decide I'm the one that's most capable of winning, I very well may do it," he said.
Donna Malcolm, president of the Washington County Democratic Women's Club, hopes he does.
"He has a wonderful idea of what needs to be done in this state," she said.
Marilyn Ashcraft, a Marietta resident and member of the Republican Party's state central committee, said she doesn't know what makes Strickland think he could beat Kasich in 2014 after losing to him in 2010.
A poll by the Public Policy Center, a Democratic-leaning organization, shows Strickland leading if the election were held today, but Ashcraft thinks by the time Kasich's first term is up, voters will see things differently.
"I think that everybody will appreciate the job he's done," she said. "He's had to make a lot of cuts that people didn't like, but that's what we have to do at home."