By Drew MacKenzie
Tea party leader Ted Stevenot is set to announce he's going to challenge incumbent John Kasich in the Republican primary for Ohio governor.
Kasich angered conservatives when he accepted $2.5 billion in federal money under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid to help low-income Ohioans.
Stevenot, 46, of Cincinnati is expected to declare his candidacy at a news conference on Tuesday and name Brenda Mack, a past president of the Ohio Black Republicans Association, as his running mate, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Stevenot is a former president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, a network of tea party activists. He needs to collect 1,000 signatures to get his name on the May 6 primary ballot.
Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, said the established GOP is planning to put its full support behind the incumbent governor, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
"Three years ago Gov. Kasich took over a state in crisis: a record $8 billion budget deficit, 400,000 Ohioans out of work and 89 cents in the rainy day fund," Schrimpf said. "His efforts to eliminate the deficit, move Ohio from 47th to 9th in the nation in job growth with 160,000 new private sector jobs, and implement the largest tax cut in the nation are getting Ohio back on track.
"His continued leadership will keep Ohio going in the right direction. He has and will continue to have the strong backing of the Ohio Republican Party."
Two Democrats have announced they will be seeking their party's nomination in the governor's race, Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive, and Todd Portune, a commissioner in Hamilton County.
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