Julie Carr Smyth
AP Statehouse Correspondent

COLUMBUS: A Democratic lawyer running for lieutenant governor owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal and state tax liens, which has immediately complicated his party’s hopes of unseating Republican Gov. John Kasich.

News of the liens emerged just days after state Sen. Eric Kearney’s candidacy was announced in what was intended as an energy-boosting event for the gubernatorial campaign of Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

The revelations are exacerbated by the fact Democrats hammered the Ohio Republican Party’s chairman-in-waiting for prior unpaid tax liens.

Kasich stood by Matthew Borges and he eventually was elected party chair this spring.

Now Democrats are standing by Kearney, arguing his liens were related to his struggling small business, and that he and his wife are steadily paying down the debt.