Taylor names Procter & Gamble exec as running mate

CINCINNATI — A Republican candidate for Ohio governor Wednesday introduced a veteran Procter & Gamble Co. executive with links to social-conservative causes as her running mate.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor chose Nathan Estruth, the CEO of a plastics processing technology company that is a wholly owned P&G subsidiary. Estruth, 50, said he’s retiring from the Cincinnati-based consumer products maker after nearly 27 years.

Taylor called Estruth a candidate with extensive private sector experience along with “a history of fighting for conservative principles.”

Estruth earlier helped lead P&G’s new-business division that introduced Tide-branded dry cleaners and Mr. Clean-branded car washes. He’s been active with groups opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion.

Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said Ohio “can’t afford to have leaders who have aligned themselves with groups that attack fellow Ohioans.”

“I am an American who is privileged to live in a country where we have free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press,” Estruth told The Associated Press in response. “And I am pleased that I could be asked to have this opportunity to try and advance those freedoms in Ohio.”

Taylor’s choice rounds out the leading tickets for the May 8 Republican primary to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. John Kasich. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci has as his running mate Amy Murray, a Cincinnati councilwoman and former P&G Asian business division executive. Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted consolidated their campaigns Nov. 30, with Husted as running mate to the former U.S. senator.

On the Democratic side, former federal consumer products chief Richard Cordray made it official in Akron on Wednesday: former congresswoman Betty Sutton has dropped her governor bid to be his running mate. Cordray said they share a vision to “make Ohio fairer” and focus on kitchen-table issues.

The Cordray-Sutton ticket still faces a crowded primary field that includes Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, ex-state Rep. Connie Pillich, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni and Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill. Former Cleveland mayor and congressman Dennis Kucinich has filed paperwork for a likely run.

By Dan Sewell

Associated Press