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CLEVELAND -- Cleveland mayor and Cuyahoga County Executive are perhaps Northeast Ohio's most important powerful elected local positions.

And Cleveland's present mayor Frank Jackson is backing State Representative and Democrat Armond Budish to be the County Executive he works with in the future.

"The relationship between the Mayor of the City of Cleveland and the County Executive is very important....Mr. Budish and I have that relationship, " Jackson said.

Mayor Jackson says he has had a good working connection with Budish in his role as former House Speaker and Minority Leader and credits Budish with being "instrumental" in helping get the school reform plan approved.

Budish also said he worked the mayor on getting the Cleveland Horseshoe Casino open early, getting funding for the Opportunity Corridor and Innerbelt Bridge, and moving the Flats East Bank project along.

"The mayor and I share a vision for our community, one where all residents have the opportunity to get a quality education, live in an attractive and safe place, and have a good job," Budish said.

Budish recently obtained the endorsement of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge.

He is being challenged by former Cuyahoga County Sheriff/Bedford City Manager/Bedford Police Chief Bob Reid and State Senator Shirley Smith.

Jackson claimed he evaluated all the candidates and decided "Budish would be the best."

All three are seeking the Democratic party's nomination for a primary vote next year.

Ed FitzGerald has endorsed Budish as his successor.

Both Mayor Jackson and Representative Budish declined to discuss the decision facing FitzGerald on whether to keep or drop his running mate state Sen. Eric Kearney because of the controversy about his significant back taxes issue.

Republican Cuyahoga County Councilman Jack Schron is expected to announce his candidacy soon.

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