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It had become a matter of "when" and not "if."

And Tuesday, the expected finally happened. Democratic Governor candidate Ed FitzGerald is rebooting his ticket. after booting his running mate.

State Senator Eric Kearney from Cincinnati announced he would stop running to be Lieutenant Governor because of the relentless scrutiny and criticism that came about after the revelation that he, his wife and his business -- mostly his business --owed some really big money in back taxes and other financial obligations.

The media water torture of three weeks was not going to end..

FitzGerald tells me it was a "mutual" decision for Kearney to fall on his sword and bow out.

The big state newspapers were clamoring for him to leave. And other Democrats, including Senator Sherrod Brown, were suggesting that Kearney staying on the ticket would create a counter-productive credibility problem for all Democrats next November.

FitzGerald said, "We couldn't make a change unless the volume got so loud it would drown out the conversation we wanted to have about real issues."

It did.

"It's politics. It's a rough business...and the rules are fluid," he said.

FitzGerald would not bash the media . But he noted many reports failed to separate Kearney's indebtedness from that of his business.

"If that's the standard, so be it. But that standard must apply to the other side as well," he said, suggesting there would be forthcoming information regarding financial matters involving either Governor John Kasich or those in his camp.

Many in Ohio still know very little about Ed FitzGerald.

Choosing Kearney was his first big decision as a candidate. And first impressions can be lasting ones.

How much damage did this whole episode do, raising questions about how thoroughly Kearney was vetted and FitzGerald's judgement remains to be seen.

FitzGerald is perceived to have some "issues" and lack support in some quarters of the African-American community.

Will dumping a candidate designed to bring both racial and geographic diversity compound those?

FitzGerald told me he would pick a new partner sometime in the more traditional timeline -- after the holidays.

It remains to be seen how much he will be haunted by the ghost of running mates past.

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