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COLUMBUS -- Ohio Democrats are struggling to diffuse the fallout from a 2014 lieutenant governor candidate's hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal and business liens without alienating key groups.

Seasoned Democratic strategist Gerald Austin is among those who say state Sen. Eric Kearney must leave the ticket of gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald, and quickly.

He said every day Kearney remains in the race benefits Republican Gov. John Kasich's chances of re-election. Brian Rothenberg, who directs the liberal think-tank ProgressOhio, says voters won't even remember the bruising series of revelations about Kearney's troubled finances by next fall.

Kearney, a Cincinnati lawyer, has detailed roughly $700,000 in state and federal tax liens owed by him, his wife and their Cincinnati publishing business.

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