WASHINGTON — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray is likely making a run for governor, and his announcement could come at any moment, former Cincinnati Mayor Ken Blackwell and a former high-level Ohio elected official told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The CFPB released its payday lending rules Thursday, which are, as rumor has it, the last thing holding Cordray back from making a bid for the 2018 Ohio gubernatorial election cycle.
“Cordray’s connections have never been disconnected. I know that he is getting inquiries and pressure from Democrats in Ohio. I have no doubt he’ll be getting into Ohio politics,” Blackwell told TheDCNF. “There’s heavy lobbying for him to run for governor.”
Democratic political operatives from Cordray’s time in Ohio politics said in summer 2017 to watch for Cordray to enter the race, a former high-level Ohio state elected official told TheDCNF. The source added that many in the Ohio political class thought that Cordray would announce his candidacy at a Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati.
While Cordray stopped short of announcing his plans to campaign for governor in Cincinnati, he did make a campaign-style speech to a group of union members.
“We need to join together to help each other rekindle the hope, the enthusiasm, and the willingness to find and make our own opportunities,” Cordray said at the picnic.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is barred by term limits to run for the state’s highest office again in 2018, which leaves the race open for Cordray and other candidates. The former Ohio politician told TheDCNF that none of the Democratic candidates have the name recognition, or really the political clout, to seriously contend with Cordray if he runs. The source also said the lack of a big-name candidate is also why Ohio Democrats are pressing the CFPB director to make a bid.
Cordray has made a name for himself by cracking down on banks and Wall Street at the CFPB, which could help rally Ohio Democrats behind his cause. He is also well known in the state for his tenure as Ohio attorney general.
The CFPB director has been meeting with top Democratic pollster, Celinda Lake, who runs Lake Research Partners in Washington. Cordray has met with Lake on a number of occasions, most recently Aug. 24, 2017.
Lake and her firm are no strangers to Ohio politics, listing Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio on the firm’s website as a former client. Lake Research Partners also has a 2017 contract out with the Ohio Democratic Party for “research” worth $18,849.
Lake told TheDCNF that the she and members of her firm were “briefing CFPB staff including the director on the 2017 poll commissioned by Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Responsible learning on financial regulations,” and that her firm has never done “any work for the CFPB.”
Cordray is scheduled to speak at an event in Columbus, Ohio Friday, where he will be introduced by the former presidentially appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Steven M. Dettelbach. Cordray’s speech is titled “The State of the CFPB and Moving Ahead.”
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