COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A fiery state senator from Cleveland launched a campaign Monday to unseat Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted next year.
Democrat Nina Turner announced her bid to become the state's elections chief at an event in Cleveland, joined by community and elected officials.
Turner said she wants to assure all votes are counted.
"We need fair elections, we need to protect every Ohioan's right to vote, and we need to attract high-quality jobs to this state," she said. "In 2012, we saw the worst of election politics, and I am running because we can and must do better."
Turner raised concerns during last year's presidential election about an order by Husted that for the first time set statewide hours for early voting in all Ohio counties.
She and other Democrats criticized the move as detrimental to large, heavily black urban counties like Cuyahoga that had added more hours to accommodate crowds. Husted said he wanted to create uniformity.
Husted did not immediately return a message left Monday seeking comment.
State Rep. Nickie Antonio, a Lakewood Democrat, said Turner would "make Ohio the shining example of fair elections and voting rights."
Turner, 45, has been a state senator since 2008 and is known for passionate floor speeches. Before that, she was the first black woman to represent Ward 1 on the Cleveland City Council.
She faces an uphill battle against Husted, a well-funded Republican who's previously served as a state senator and Speaker of the Ohio House.
With her announcement, the Democrats' statewide ticket continues to solidify. Another Clevelander, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, is running for governor against Republican John Kasich. Former Attorney General Richard Cordray, entangled in a fight to keep his appointment as President Barack Obama's consumer watchdog, has not yet ruled out a run.
State Rep. Connie Pillich is challenging GOP Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, and Cincinnati attorney David Pepper, a former Hamilton County commissioner, is taking on Attorney General Mike DeWine.
JULIE CARR SMYTH, AP Statehouse Correspondent