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CLEVELAND -- State Representative Armond Budish's campaign to be Cuyahoga County Executive is now officially underway after weeks of speculation.

And as Channel 3's Tom Beres first reported, he's being endorsed by incumbent County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who is vacating the job to run for Governor.

Budish launched his campaign vowing to be concerned about all the diverse groups in Cuyahoga County.

He promised initatives dealing with education, stopping the brain drain and and launching a center to help cities collaborate and try new ideas.

He said his experience as House Leader was like being an executive, having to manage a staff, budget and work with different groups.

FitzGerald said he encouraged Budish to enter the race because he wanted a candidate with integrity who shared his priorities to carry on the work he's begun.

Other officials, including Rep. Marcy Kaptur, State Rep. Nicki Antonio and Sandra Williams and Cleveland council members Ken Johnson and Terrell Pruitt, were on hand offering their support.

Budish is a successful fundraiser. And though FitzGerald downplayed that fact, many think the alliance will help FitzGerald raise money for his super-costly Governor's race.

Budish and his accomplishments are not well known outside of his district.

His supporters compare his leadership style to that of low-key Mayor Frank Jackson.

Other Democratic candidates in or pondering the race include Former Sheriff and Bedford City Manager Bob Reid, County Council President C. Ellen Connally, State Sen. Shirley Smith and Cleveland School Board member Eric Wobser.

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