Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Blackwell passes on administration job

Wants to run for governor in 2006

By Travis James Tritten
Enquirer contributor

        COLUMBUS — Saying he wants to run for governor in 2006, Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell said Monday he will not go to work for President Bush.

        After considering a high-ranking position in the U.S. State Department, Mr. Blackwell said he will stay in Ohio and complete his four-year term as chief elections officer.

        The Republican and former Cincinnati mayor did not offer specifics on his discussions with the Bush administration, saying instead that he wanted to finish work begun when he was elected in 1998.

        Members of the Bush administration had talked to Mr. Blackwell about the possibility of being appointed counselor to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

        “At the end of the day, that's what they were: exploratory conversations,” Mr. Blackwell said.

        Mr. Blackwell was a key Ohio supporter of Mr. Bush in the 2000 campaign and worked in the administration of former President Bush.

        Mr. Blackwell has long been interested in running for governor, even toying with the idea of challenging Bob Taft in the Republican primary in 1998.

        Assuming he is re-elected in 2002, Mr. Taft will not be eligible for a third term in 2006.

        Mr. Blackwell said he wants to work on the redrawing of congressional and legislative election districts that takes place every 10 years.


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