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COLUMBUS -- A Democratic lieutenant governor candidate in Ohio who faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal tax liens says he is dropping out of the race.

State Sen. Eric Kearney says he's leaving the ticket of gubernatorial contender Ed FitzGerald. His decision comes less than three weeks after he entered the contest.

Kearney, a Cincinnati lawyer who is black, brought racial and geographic diversity to FitzGerald's ticket, and direct ties to President Barack Obama, who is a friend.

But he couldn't overcome political fallout associated with revelations of his many unpaid debts. Most related to his small business, Cincinnati Herald publisher Sesh Communications.

FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive, now must pick a new running mate as he faces Republican Gov. John Kasich next year.

By: JULIE CARR SMYTH

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