Ted Strickland at the DNC. (Reuters) Ted Strickland at the DNC. (Reuters)

Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland will not run for his old post in 2014, disappointing Democrats who hoped he would challenge Gov. John Kasich (R). 

“Today I am announcing my decision not to seek election as governor of Ohio in 2014,” Strickland said in a statement. “In many ways, this has been a very difficult decision. I look back fondly on my time as Ohio’s 68th governor –and am proud of my administration’s efforts to guide our state through the greatest national economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

Strickland said that he and his wife Frances "will continue to be politically active private citizens ... We will continue to stand with working men and women to build a stronger Ohio —-and to defeat anti-worker and anti-middle class legislation that may arise.”

Kasich narrowly defeated Strickland in 2010. Since then, the Republican has struggled with low poll numbers and a union backlash against his attempts to limit collective bargaining. But in recent months, he's rebounded; in September a Washington Post poll suggested  he’s among the more popular governors in the country.

Strickland also enjoyed a resurgence this past fall. He turned heads at the Democratic National Convention with a blistering attack on the Republican presidential nominee that was notable for zingers like, “If Mitt Romney was Santa Claus, he would fire the reindeer and outsource the elves.”

"While he may not be our candidate for governor, Ohio is one of our top pick-up opportunities and we will continue to work with Governor Strickland to return the seat to Democrats,” Democratic Governors Association Chairman Peter Shumlin said in a statement. 

Other potential contenders include Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and former Ohio Attorney General and current head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray.