Sen. Elizabeth Warren to join Cordray on campaign trail

FILE - In this July 17, 2013, file photo, Richard Cordray, right, the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, talks with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left, following a statement by President Barack Obama in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. Warren is coming to Ohio to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cordray. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is ready to hit the campaign trail with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray.

Warren will encourage early voting for Cordray at stops in Cincinnati and Columbus on Friday, his campaign told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

A darling of the left and a favorite punching bag of Republican President Donald Trump and the right, Warren created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where Cordray served as a director until jumping into the governor's race late last year.

Her appearances come as Cordray faces a tightening primary race against former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Kucinich, initially viewed as a long shot, got a boost for the strong gun control positions he advocated after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, including calling for a statewide ban on assault-style weapons after the massacre that left 17 dead and has repeatedly called out Cordray for his past high marks from the National Rifle Association.

Two other main Democratic candidates and two Republicans are seeking nominations in the May 8 primaries to succeed Republican Gov. John Kasich, who is term-limited.

Warren is expected to highlight Cordray's blueprint for fighting the opioid crisis during a Cincinnati stop at a substance abuse treatment facility.

Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, has proposed a series of steps to address the deadly scourge caused by prescription painkillers and heroin, including protecting Medicaid expansion and boosting support for law enforcement and local treatment options.

Warren also plans to tout Cordray's time as federal consumer watchdog, when he was often criticized for being too aggressive by banks and Congressional Republicans. They plan an afternoon stop in Columbus that will focus on Cordray's work at the bureau that they'll say benefited college students, the campaign said, including actions against for-profit colleges and unscrupulous student lenders.

Rules the agency put in place under Cordray affect nearly every American who deals with banks or a credit card company or has a mortgage.

A review of a CFPB database obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information request shows that the bureau issued an average of two to four enforcement actions a month under Cordray. But the database shows zero enforcement actions have been taken since Nov. 21, 2017, three days before Cordray resigned.

The banking industry has accused the bureau of overreaching in its regulation of consumer financial activities.

Mick Mulvaney, appointed acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in late November by Trump, promised to shrink the bureau's mandate and take a much softer approach to enforcement.

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