By DENISE GRANT
Just one day after Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor announced her pick of a running mate for the governor’s race, her campaign began introducing Nathan Estruth around the state.
Estruth, 50, of the Cincinnati area, will need to be introduced in most political circles. Taylor said she purposely sought a running mate from the private sector to be her lieutenant governor.
Estruth stepped down as CEO of Hamilton-based Imflux, a plastic modeling company owned by Procter & Gamble.
Taylor and Estruth met with The Courier’s editorial board and a reporter Thursday afternoon.
Taylor, who served as Ohio auditor before her two terms as lieutenant governor, said Estruth complements her skill set and also provides a check on her government background.
“When government overreaches, it gets in the way of what’s most important, and that’s putting Ohioans to work,” Taylor said.
Taylor is running against Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in the Republican primary for governor. Another candidate for governor, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, has decided to run for the U.S. Senate instead.
Taylor and Estruth described themselves as the “conservative, outsider ticket” and “a clear choice” in the governor’s race.
Taylor served as state auditor from 2007 to 2011, and was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 2003 to 2006. She began her career in politics in 2001 when she was elected to the Green City Council.
The primary for Ohio governor is May 8.
Estruth said the DeWine/Husted ticket can’t win the November general election, which is expected to attract a blue wave of Democrats upset by the election of Donald Trump as president.
When asked to join Taylor’s ticket, Estruth said he had to consider whether she can win. He said Taylor proved it in 2006, another rough election for Republicans, when she was elected state auditor. Taylor edged Democratic candidate Barbara Sykes in that race by about 48,000 votes statewide.
Estruth said DeWine “failed miserably” in his attempt to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, the same year.
“Mary is running for policy and people and understands you have to be politically smart,” he said.
He called DeWine “old school.” Taylor said DeWine has been repeatedly challenged to a debate. So far, he’s refused.
Taylor has been campaigning on a platform of jobs, regulatory reform, tax simplification, repeal of the Affordable Care Act in Ohio, better education and a private/public answer to drug addiction.
She said Ohio is in crisis with the opioid epidemic.
“We need to build out the full continuum of care for drug addiction. We don’t have a full continuum of care,” Taylor said.
She has proposed a statewide bond issue, maybe up to $1 billion, to pay for the care and to provide incentives for research into alternative ways to treat pain.
“Eventually, I believe we will discover a substance that can block addiction and keep it from happening altogether,” Taylor said.