CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM-CLEVELAND, Ohio- New York state representative Michael Blake, also the vice chair of the national Democratic Party, is the keynote speaker for the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Annual Dinner, which is sold out and will be held on Sunday, March 19 at the Global Center for Health Innovation in downtown Cleveland.
11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, a Black Warrensville Heights Democrat whose largely Black congressional district includes parts of the majority Black major city of Cleveland, will not be in attendance, and neither will U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, organizers told Cleveland Urban News.Com.
Both Fudge and Brown have prior engagements. organizers said.
Other notable speakers include Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chairperson Stuart Garson, Ohio Democratic Party Chairperson David Pepper, 9th Congressional District Congresswoman March Kaptur, a Toledo Democrat whose congressional district extends to Cleveland, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley.
State Sen Sandra Williams, a Cleveland Democrat and vice chair of the county Democratic party, and Blaine Griffin, second vice chair of the county Democratic party and director of the Community Relations Board for the City of Cleveland, are also among the speakers.
A resident of Bronx, New York, Blake comes to Cleveland following a divisive campaign for chair of the Democratic National Committee (DCC) that pit former assistant U.S. attorney general and former HUD secretary Tom Perez against Muslim U.S. Rep Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Perez winning and then naming Ellis as his deputy chair.
Perez won by 35 votes in the second round, defeating Ellison, 235-200 out of 435 caucus votes cast to replace U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman- Schulz, who resigned in July 2016 at the height of the Democratic primary presidential campaign following controversy over Democratic emails relative to unsuccessful Democratic primary presidential candidate U.S Sen. Bernie Sander of Vermont.
Former President Barack Obama supported Perez, and Blake, 39, and a rising political star, is a staunch Obama ally, having served as the Iowa Deputy Political Director for Barack Obama in the 2008 United States presidential election.
Following Obama's presidential win Blake became associate director of Public Engagement and deputy associate director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. And he was the national deputy director of Operation Vote for Obama’s 2012 re-election.
Sunday's upcoming powerful political gathering in Cuyahoga County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Cleveland and the largest of 88 counties statewide, comes as Brown's U.S. senate seat is up for grabs in 2018, as are all of the non-judicial statewide offices, including the governor-ship.
In addition to governor, Republicans swept all of Ohio's statewide offices in November 2014, namely Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Treasurer Josh Mandel, Auditor Dave Yost, and Supreme Court Justices Judith French and Sharon Kennedy.
Two-term Republican Gov John Kasich, also a former congressman and a 2016 unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for president, is term limited and, by state law, cannot seek reelection.
Publicly announced candidates for the Democratic nomination for the Ohio race for governor in 2018 include Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavon of Youngstown, former congresswoman Betty Sutton of Copley, former Wayne County comissioner Dave Kiefer, and former state representative Connie Pillich of greater Cincinnati.
Others contemplating a Democratic run for the gubernatorial seat include former state senator Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat and national surrogate for Bernie Sanders' unsuccessful campaign for president, former Cleveland mayor and prior congressman Dennis Kucinich, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
Republican gubernatorial possible's include Jon Husted, whom Turner lost to in 2014 in her bid for secretary of state, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, also a former U.S. senator, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.