POLITICS
01/06/2014 01:51 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Tea Party Leader Ted Stevenot Decides Not To Challenge John Kasich

Ted Stevenot, a tea party leader in Ohio and former president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, announced over the weekend that he had decided against challenging Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) in the state's gubernatorial primary, only a week after he had seemed ready to run.

In a release, Stevenot noted that his decision was not based on concerns about his running mate, Brenda Mack:

After much personal thought, as well as in depth discussions with family, friends, and advisors, I have made the decision to withdraw my candidacy for governor. I do this reluctantly, because I know that part of what has gone wrong with our political process is that the two major parties have made it exceedingly difficult for a common person to run for office.

The executive director of the Portage County Tea Party, Tom Zawistowski, told The Associated Press that heavy media attention may have been a contributing factor in Stevenot's decision to drop out of the race.

"I just don't think a lot of people in our movement have experience with the media, and it's a little overwhelming for them," Zawistowski said.

Kasich may have invited a primary challenger from the right when he bypassed the state's Republican-controlled legislature to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act for low-income Ohioans.

Just prior to Stevenot's tenure as head of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, the group posted a photo on Facebook comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

Tea party activists have until Feb. 5 to offer an alternative to Kasich in May's primary election.

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