“I am considering it, but the seniority I own here and the causes I champion would be put at risk by running in Ohio, particularly at a time when a statewide campaign in a big state requires more money than I can ever imagine,'' Kaptur told The Associated Press in an interview in her office last week.
Strickland, of Lisbon, said he would prefer to avoid a primary and save his money for the general election, but acknowledged it can help with statewide name recognition.
For now, Kaptur is seeking a 13th term representing Toledo and communities along the western half of the state's Lake Erie shoreline. She had about $800,000 in her war chest on Sept. 30, according to her latest filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Kaptur says she promised long ago not to take money from energy industry groups, something she said puts her at a stark disadvantage in a statewide campaign.
Strickland's gubernatorial campaign raised more than $1 million by mid-year and, in addition, his congressional campaign has received more than $100,000 in contributions through Sept. 30, with nearly $500,000 on hand.
“I feel very comfortable with the kinds of relationships I've tried to have with energy producers, transmitters and consumers,” Strickland said. “I respect the decision the congresswoman made for herself, but I didn't see the need” to reject contributions from energy companies.
Energy groups, including corporate political committees for Entergy Corp., Exelon Corp., Cinergy Corp., and Duke Energy, have contributed $18,000 this year to Strickland's congressional campaign. He also has received $37,500 from labor groups.
Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman withdrew from the race last month, leaving Strickland and former state Rep. Bryan Flannery of Lakewood as the only Democrats seeking the nomination.
Republicans in the race include: Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, Auditor Betty Montgomery, Attorney General Jim Petro, and Cleveland general contractor Pete Draganic.
Republican Gov. Bob Taft cannot run again next year because of term limits.