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A feisty, yet reflective Gov. Ted Strickland said Monday that his biggest mistake in 2009 was deciding to rely on revenue from racetrack slot machines that were later sidelined by the Ohio Supreme Court.

It was one of the most controversial decisions the Democratic governor had to make in a challenging year that stretched government finances to their limit and left Strickland a little battered heading into a re-election campaign.

Strickland confronted a collapsed economy, high unemployment, sagging poll numbers, and a botched execution he had to call off about two hours after preparations began. Still, the governor told The Associated Press in a year-end interview in his Statehouse office that he will run for re-election against Republican John Kasich.

Strickland rattled off a number of accomplishments, including an overhaul in Ohio's school funding system, changes to the curriculum and an expansion of health coverage.

Ohio's devastated budget led Strickland in June to reverse a long-held antigambling stance to call for slot machines at the state's seven racetracks. But the Ohio Supreme Court later ruled that the plan is subject to a referendum by the voters, squelching any chance the machines could raise revenue in time to help the sagging two-year budget.


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