CLEVELAND -- After months of silence, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson gave Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald's campaign for governor a strong and ringing endorsement.

It's not big news that a Democratic mayor backs his Democratic counterpart in Cuyahoga County. But political observers wondered what was taking Jackson so long to do this.

Jackson said he waited until his endorsement made the most sense and would help FitzGerald the most.

Jackson said FitzGerald has been a strong leader of the new Cuyahoga County government.

"He has taken the helm of a county that was in great turmoil and done it in a way that has restored credibility," Jackson said.

Jackson and Governor John Kasich have teamed up to push Cleveland's school transformation plan and to move key transportation projects like the Innerbelt Bridge and Opportunity Corridor along.

He did not openly criticize the governor in his remarks. He said he called the governor Thursday morning to leave a message that he was backing FitzGerald.

"We have been on the same side on some issues and diametrically opposed on other issues, " he said.

Jackson's unqualified support may help address a perception that FitzGerald is not connecting in the African-American community.

A diverse group of other mayors and local officials stood behind FitzGerald and Jackson.

Several blasted the Governor for cutting funding to local governments and presiding over the Jobs Ohio Initiative which they claimed has failed to move the job creation needle in Ohio.

FitzGerald said the turnout proves he can build coalitions.

FitzGerald said his announcement of a second running mate is "coming very soon," perhaps as early as Friday.

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