CLEVELAND -- Democratic Governor candidate Ed FitzGerald says re-sizing and cutting back his campaign staff is being done to make the best use of his limited financial resources.

And it does not mean his campaign is throwing in the towel.

He spoke about the changes with WKYC's Tom Beres after a Tuesday press event announcing a Cleveland Foundation grant to help complete a lakefront/riverfront path.

RELATED STORY: Cleveland Foundation gives $5 million for Lake Link Trail

"This is an extremely expensive campaign. We had to make tough decisions about payroll," FitzGerald said.

Two top aides to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald have left his campaign, as the struggling challenger to Ohio Gov. John Kasich readjusts his strategy less than 50 days before early voting begins.

A spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday that campaign manager Nick Buis and communications director Daniel McElhatton have departed.

Lauren Hitt said further staff announcements are expected by week's end.

Hitt said the campaign remains focused on spreading its message that Ohio's economic rebound under Kasich hasn't done enough for the poor and middle-class.

FitzGerald knows what he calls "the political chattering class" may well view this as staffers abandoning a sinking campaign ship.

"We knew we were going to have to make a decision like this if we didn't raise more money... We couldn't carry a big payroll," FitzGerald explained.

FitzGerald has been battling a four-to-one fundraising disadvantage with Kasich continuing to build a bigger bankroll.

And negative stories about Westlake police discovering FitzGerald in a car with a woman who was not his wife and FitzGerald's lacking a full driver's license for ten years will only make the fundraising challenge tougher.

Hitt and FitzGerald believe his landing "a couple debates" with Kasich will help FitzGerald and the rest of the Democratic ticket.

But right now no debates are locked in.

FitzGerald said Kasich's campaign and his campaign are "trying to act like this a coronation not an election. I think people resent that."

The latest ad from the Republican Governor's Association focuses on the driver's license issue, using WKYC Channel 3 newscast man-on-the-street comments about it, along with other newscast excerpts..

FitzGerald claimed, "I don't watch TV. But I'm sure it's not nice."

A big question is, will the media and voters keep focusing on FitzGerald's problems or pay more attention to his challenges to Kasich on other issues?

" I run for office, not because some pundit tells me too. I run for office because I have beliefs I think other people share and I go out and talk about them, " he said.

Read or Share this story: