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U.S. consumer watchdog chief Cordray tests Ohio's election waters

U.S. consumer watchdog chief Cordray tests Ohio's election waters
From Reuters - September 4, 2017

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Democrat Richard Cordray delivered a campaign-style stump speech at a sprawling Labor Day celebration on Monday, but the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief stopped short of saying whether he intends to run for governor of Ohio.

If Cordray were to step down to run for political office it would allow President Donald Trump to appoint a successor as head of the consumer watchdog agency, which has stoked the ire of Wall Street with steep penalties for misconduct and tougher rules on lending.

We need to join together to help each other rekindle the hope, the enthusiasm, and the willingness to find and make our own opportunities, Cordray said to hundreds of union members, a key Democratic constituency, at an AFL-CIO picnic in Cincinnati.

Cordray is the first director of the CFPB, a consumer watchdog agency created under former President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

An Ohio native, he has been widely expected to jump into the race for governor and clearly appeared to be testing the political waters with his speech on Monday.

Though many had speculated he would use the occasion toannounce his candidacy, activists and political leaders said any formal announcement about Cordrays plans to enter the 2018 contest would wait until the CFPB finalizes a long-awaited rule restricting the activity of payday lenders.

Current Ohio Governor John Kasich, among more than a dozen Republican candidates to be defeated by Trump in last years presidential primary campaign, is barred by term limits from running again in the pivotal election battleground state.

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