Ed FitzGerald

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Ed FitzGerald
Ed FitzGerald.jpg
1st Executive of Cuyahoga County
In office
January 9, 2011 – January 1, 2015
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byArmond Budish
Mayor of Lakewood
In office
Preceded byThomas George
Succeeded byMichael Summers
Personal details
Edward FitzGerald

(1968-07-10) July 10, 1968 (age 51)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Shannon FitzGerald
EducationIndiana University, Bloomington
Ohio State University (BA)
Cleveland State University (JD)
WebsiteGovernment website

Edward "Ed" FitzGerald (born July 10, 1968) is an American politician who served as the first Cuyahoga County Executive from 2011 until 2015. He was the Democratic Party nominee for governor of Ohio in the 2014 election, and was defeated by the incumbent, John Kasich. Before being elected county executive, FitzGerald served as mayor of Lakewood, Ohio; a Lakewood city councilman; an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor; and a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


FitzGerald grew up in Indiana and graduated from high school there. He attended the Indiana University and later transferred to Ohio State University in Columbus. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1990, and obtained a law degree from the Cleveland–Marshall College of Law in 1993. During this time, FitzGerald worked as a staff assistant for former U.S. Representative Edward F. Feighan. He also served on the staff of Indiana Secretary of State Evan Bayh.

In 1995, FitzGerald was commissioned as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was assigned to the Organized Crime Task Force in Chicago. He investigated political corruption and mafia influence in Cicero, Illinois.

Political career[edit]

In 1998, FitzGerald returned to the Cleveland area and later joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office. In 1999, he was appointed to the city council in Lakewood, Ohio, a position he held for nine years. In 2007, he was elected mayor of Lakewood. FitzGerald's administration focused on a community-policing initiative and recession-based financial issues similar to those faced by local governments throughout the country.

On November 3, 2009, the voters of Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland and 59 surrounding suburbs, authorized a new form of county government, in large part because of widespread scandal.[1] During the criminal investigation, FitzGerald was identified by the F.B.I. as P.O. 14 (Public Official number 14), but charges were never brought against FitzGerald. Under the new system, in 2010 FitzGerald defeated ten other candidates to become the first county executive of Cuyahoga County.[2]

Upon assuming office, FitzGerald spearheaded a long list of reforms under the general rubric of "The Western Reserve Plan."[3] Key components were a strict code of ethics monitored by an inspector general,[4] shrinking the size of government, a sheriff community policing unit,[5] the largest college savings program in the nation,[6][7] the promotion of regional economic and service cooperation strategies,[8] and a significant economic development fund to promote job creation.[9]

2014 Gubernatorial candidacy[edit]

FitzGerald, a Democrat, was frequently mentioned as a potential gubernatorial nominee for 2014. In 2012, he gave a videotaped response to Governor John Kasich's speech at the Republican National Committee.[10] In March 2013, he formed an exploratory committee to consider a campaign for governor of Ohio.[11]

On April 24, 2013, he announced his candidacy for Governor of Ohio.[12] Senator Sherrod Brown and former Governor Ted Strickland endorsed FitzGerald's candidacy.[13] On May 6, 2014 FitzGerald won the Democratic primary with 83% of the vote.

FitzGerald released a plan for state-funded universal preschool in addition to announcing his support for gay marriage.[14] He criticized Kasich for signing into law income tax cuts that save larger sums of money for wealthier Ohioans than poorer ones, while increasing sales taxes, which tax a larger percentage of income from poorer Ohioans than from wealthier ones.[15] FitzGerald also chided Kasich for a lack of transparency at JobsOhio, the privatized economic development agency that Kasich formed,[16][17][18] and for signing into law bills that cut early voting days and limit the distribution of absentee ballot applications.[19][20]

On November 20, 2013, FitzGerald picked Eric Kearney to be his running mate.[21] On December 10, Kearney stepped down from the ticket due to increasing controversy surrounding back taxes he and his wife owed.[22] FitzGerald later selected Sharen Swartz Neuhardt, an attorney from the Dayton area, to be his running mate.[23]

On August 1, 2014, FitzGerald was asked to explain an October 13, 2012 incident in which he was found in a parking lot at about 4:30 am in a car with a woman, who was not his wife. FitzGerald dismissed the allegations as baseless and "disgusting." It was later verified with the Westlake Police Department that it was indeed Fitzgerald in the vehicle with the woman.[24] It was also learned that FitzGerald did not have a valid driver's license at the time of this incident, and had not had one for approximately ten years.[25] In November 2012, FitzGerald did obtain a permanent driver's license in Ohio.[26]

FitzGerald was defeated by incumbent Republican Gov. John Kasich in the November 4, 2014 election losing 86 of Ohio's 88 counties including his own home county of Cuyahoga. He only received a majority in Athens and Monroe counties.


List of political endorsements

Electoral history[edit]

Election results
Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
2014[38] Governor of Ohio General Ed FitzGerald Democratic 1,009,359 33.03% John Kasich Republican 1,944,848 63.64% Anita Rios Green 101,706 3.3%
2010[39] County Executive of Cuyahoga County, Ohio General Ed FitzGerald Democratic 188,474 45.73% Matt Dolan Republican 124,719 30.26% Ken Lanci Independent 47,110 11.43% Tim McCormack Independent 33,760 8.19% *
2007[40] Mayor of Lakewood, Ohio General Ed FitzGerald Non-Partisan 6,631 61.27% Thomas J. George Non-Partisan 4,192 38.73%

*Independent candidate Don Scipione received 11,897 votes (2.89%) and Green Party candidate David Ellison received 6,193 votes (1.5%)

Personal life[edit]

FitzGerald is the seventh of eight children and is of Irish Catholic ancestry. He and his wife Shannon have been married for twenty one years and are the parents of four children.


  1. ^ McCarty, James. "Federal prosecutors recommend Jimmy Dimora be sentenced to at least 22 years in prison". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  2. ^ Gomez, Henry. "Cuyahoga County executive candidates share ideas for economic development at forum". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  3. ^ Miller, Jay. "Cuyahoga County exec FitzGerald looks to lead consolidation of gov't services". Crain's Cleveland Business. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  4. ^ http://inspectorgeneral.cuyahogacounty.us/
  5. ^ http://executive.cuyahogacounty.us/pdf_executive/en-US/110523-CommunityPolicingInitiative.pdf
  6. ^ "Cuyahoga County wants to set up college savings accounts for all kindergartners". cleveland.com. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Ed FitzGerald says Cuyahoga County's college savings program is the first to guarantee an account for every child entering kindergarten". @politifact. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Cuyahoga County". cleveland.com. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Fitz-O-Meter: Establish a $100-million economic development fund - PolitiFact Ohio". PolitiFact Ohio. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  10. ^ Cleveland Leader Staff. "Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald Responds to Ohio Gov. John Kasich's Speech at RNC". Cleveland Leader. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  11. ^ "Ohio Gov. John Kasich gets first likely challenger: Ed FitzGerald". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  12. ^ Gomez, Henry J. (24 April 2013). "Ed FitzGerald kicks off his long-planned bid for governor by banking on his Cuyahoga County base". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Ted Strickland endorses Ed FitzGerald for governor".
  14. ^ "FitzGerald proposes $500 million universal preschool plan". cleveland.com. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Ed FitzGerald assails Ohio budget as harmful to middle-class families, the poor and women". cleveland.com. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  16. ^ http://www.nbc4i.com/story/25393739/jobs-ohio-doesnt-have-to-disclose-records-on-taxpayer-money
  17. ^ "Ed FitzGerald Calls For JobsOhio Transparency". WOSU News. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  18. ^ CIN (21 March 2014). "Ed FitzGerald to Enquirer: Here's my Ohio". Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  19. ^ "Kasich signs voting bills that end Golden Week and limit distribution of absentee ballots". cleveland.com. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Cuyahoga County". cleveland.com. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  21. ^ "fitzgerald-picks-sen-eric-kearney-for-ohio-governors-race". Fox 19. Archived from the original on 2013-12-12. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  22. ^ "Democrat ends bid to be Ohio's lieutenant governor". WKYC.
  23. ^ Navera, Tristan (January 17, 2014), Kasich challenger picks Dayton lawyer as running mate, Dayton, Ohio: Dayton Business Journal, retrieved January 24, 2014 Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  24. ^ Bump, Phillip. "Ed FitzGerald's name recognition is about to get a boost in Ohio, for the wrong reasons". www.washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  25. ^ "Witnesses saw FitzGerald driving alone". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  26. ^ "Ed FitzGerald lacked driver's license for decade". Chronicle-Telegram. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  27. ^ Troy, Tom (November 15, 2013). "U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown comes to Toledo to endorse FitzGerald for governor". Toledo Blade. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  28. ^ Drabold, Will (April 9, 2014). "Mayor Coleman endorses FitzGerald for governor". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  29. ^ Gomez, Henry J. (January 16, 2014). "Ed FitzGerald collects endorsement from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson; announcement on new running mate 'coming very soon'". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  30. ^ Troy, Tom (August 15, 2013). "Kaptur endorses FitzGerald in governor's race". Toledo Blade. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  31. ^ Gomez, Henry J. (July 29, 2013). "Ohio governor's race: Former Gov. Ted Strickland passes torch to fellow Democrat Ed FitzGerald". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  32. ^ "Ed FitzGerald in the Democratic primary for Ohio governor: endorsement editorial". The Plain Dealer. April 25, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  33. ^ a b c d Hart, Jason (January 6, 2014). "Ohio Democrats Enjoy Early Labor Union Endorsements". mediatrackers. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  34. ^ Gomez, Henry J. (October 7, 2013). "Ohio AFL-CIO backs Ed FitzGerald for governor". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  35. ^ "Ohio Education Association Endorses FitzGerald for Governor". Ohio Education Association. November 4, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  36. ^ Gomez, Henry J. (February 13, 2014). "Ed FitzGerald plays up UAW endorsement, John Kasich heads to Cleveland: Ohio Politics Roundup". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  37. ^ Gomez, Henry J. (July 29, 2014). "Fraternal Order of Police endorses Ed FitzGerald". cleveland.com. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  38. ^ "November 02, 2010 Amended Official Total Ballots Cast by Contest". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  39. ^ "November 02, 2010 Amended Official Total Ballots Cast by Contest". Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  40. ^ "November 6, 2007 Official Summary Report" (PDF). Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. Retrieved 2018-05-09.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Ted Strickland
Democratic nominee for Governor of Ohio
Succeeded by
Richard Cordray