July 3, 2008

Former Petro Aide in GOP Field for AG’s Race

By James Nash, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Jul. 3--As Ohio Republicans move closer to naming their candidate for attorney general, the name Stephanie McCloud seems to be floating to the top of a small pool of contenders.

McCloud, 37, was a senior deputy attorney general serving then-Attorney General Jim Petro, whose term ended at the beginning of 2007. McCloud is also known as the daughter of one of Ohio's most influential Christian conservative activists, Phil Burress.

McCloud lives in Reynoldsburg and is a corporate lawyer. She is on the November ballot as the Republican candidate for Franklin County treasurer.

McCloud met late Monday with Jason Mauk, executive director of the Ohio Republican Party, and Mark R. Weaver, a veteran political consultant.

Mauk downplayed the significance of the meeting, saying the party is considering as many as six potential candidates. "We are looking at a handful of candidates who have the background and the qualifications to serve as attorney general," he said.

Weaver declined to comment. McCloud could not be reached.

After Marc Dann, a Democrat, stepped down as attorney general on May 14 amid scandal, Republican Party leaders approached a number of high-profile current and former officeholders such as Petro, former Sen. Mike DeWine and former Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery to run for the office. All declined.

Democrats are fielding state Treasurer Richard Cordray.

The winner of the November special election will take office once the vote is certified and will serve the remaining two years of Dann's term.

Some Republicans are privately fretting over the party's inability to settle on a candidate for the state's top legal job, but Mauk said the party won't rush into a decision.

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