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Ohio governor predicts Hillary Clinton will win there

February 23, 2008 |  2:14 am

And oh, by the way, he's endorsed her.

Gov. Ted Strickland made the prediction for his state's March 4 primary in an appearance on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital With Al Hunt," though he acknowledged the obvious: It's a fight for Hillary Clinton.

"It will be hard fought and perhaps a narrowly decided victory, but I do think that she will win Ohio,'' Strickland said, according to a transcript of the program to air several times this weekend.

Strickland shrugged off the union support, important in union-strong Ohio, that has fallen Barack Obama's way, including endorsements from the SEIU and the Teamsters. Strickland said he asked Andy Stern and James Hoffa, leaders of the two unions, to delay their endorsement calls until after the Ohio primary. Obviously, Stern and Hoffa didn't heed him, and Strickland was sounding a bit scorned.

"There are reasons that are perhaps not always noble that determine why labor leaders do what they do," he said. "But I can tell you there are many SEIU employees in Ohio who are for Sen. Clinton. There are many Teamsters in Ohio who are for Sen. Clinton.''

The back story in Ohio: The Democratic Party is as split there as it is nationally, with Strickland backing Clinton and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, one of the state's top African American political leaders and a one-time front-runner for the job Strickland now holds, backing Obama. And there's not a lot of love lost between the two men.

But the question for the presidential campaigns is whether Strickland's prediction is more Anthony Smith than Plaxico Burress.

-- Scott Martelle