COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- A little-known Democrat from the Dayton area has qualified for the May ballot, creating a gubernatorial primary in Ohio.
The state's top election official said Tuesday that Larry Ealy and his running mate Ken Gray got the signatures needed to appear on May 6 ballots.
"People here have lost jobs and it seems like the minorities and the poor neighborhoods have been left out of the equation here and it's been going on too long," Ealy said.
Earlier this month, the candidates for governor submitted petitions with signatures of 1,000 registered voters that had to be verified by elections officials. Ealy says he's not phased by what many people are calling a long-shot candidacy.
"Big corporate politics always rules this and the people can't trust any candidates right now. I'm not a politician," he said.
Ealy says he decided to run for governor during a stint in jail last April. He claims that police assaulted his children and took his youngest son while he was behind bars.
"We haven't seen him in almost a year." He hopes to search for his son while on the campaign trail.
Ealy, who is black, hopes voters don't support him just because of his skin color.
"I'm hoping that I get voted for because of what I'm going to do, not just because of the race that I am," he said.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has been campaigning for months to be the Democratic nominee for governor. Secretary of State Jon Husted said the Democrat also qualified for May's ballot. FitzGerald is backed by the Ohio Democratic Party, several high-ranking Democrats, and many of the Unions in the state.
Ealy says he wasn't even aware of FitzGerald until last month.
The Republican primary field was clear for first-term Gov. John Kasich after a potential Tea Party challenge fell through earlier.
Libertarian Charlie Earl made the ballot unopposed for his party's nomination. He will move forward to the November ballot. Green Party candidate Dennis Spisak did not qualify for the May primary ballot.
None of the other statewide races have primaries.
Libertarian Steven Linnabary qualified for the Ohio Attorney General's race. He'll take on Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine and Democrat David Pepper in November.