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Has Strickland changed mind about run for governor?

COLUMBUS - U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland will run for governor after saying in January he would not seek the Democratic nomination, two sources told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Strickland, 63, will make an announcement early next week, Democratic sources in Ohio and Washington who are familiar with his plans said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Strickland's congressional district includes Lawrence County.

The six-term congressman would not confirm or deny a run for governor, a job held by Republicans since 1991.

"I have decided what to do in regard to my future plans," Strickland said in a brief interview in the Capitol. He said it was "highly unlikely I will run for the Senate."

Strickland's entry into the governor’s race would be a blow to U.S. Senate Democrats, who have tried to recruit him to run next year against two-term Republican Sen. Mike DeWine.

Strickland would become the second Democrat in the race for governor, joining Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.

"Mike Coleman has always anticipated a primary and he will win the nomination. He will be the next governor," Coleman campaign spokesman Dan Trevas said. "We don’t take anything away from Congressman Strickland, who has done an excellent job fighting for Ohioans in a part of a state that Republicans have long ignored."

Strickland said in January that he preferred to stay in Washington to work on such issues as health care, veterans needs, trade policies and Social Security. The sources gave no reason for the turnaround.

His motivation might have had something to do with U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown’s decision to run for re-election instead of governor, said John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Public Policy at the University of Akron. Strickland may have reassessed his chances with Brown out of the picture, Green said.