Mary Taylor now is formally a candidate in the crowded field for the Republican nomination for governor in 2018.

Ohio's lieutenant governor filed paperwork today with the secretary of state's office creating her campaign committee — Mary Taylor for Governor — and appointing a treasurer, Rick Fedorovich.

Taylor, a native of Green, can now begin direct fundraising for her campaign and speak with voters as a candidate, rather than strictly in her role as No. 2 to Gov. John Kasich.

Kasich said recently he continues to support Taylor's bid to become governor in what could be a heated race including Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted and perhaps others.

Taylor's campaign said a formal announcement and kick-off event are expected later this year.

In a statement, Taylor said:  “First, we are blessed to live in an amazing country where conservative reform is coming, and I’m ready to lead this fight in Ohio. I care deeply about our state, our people, and the future we can build by working together. We turned Ohio in a new direction and we’ve seen what’s possible in our communities when we rein in government, put people first, and ensure everyone has a fair shot at the American Dream.

"My priorities are jobs, strengthening families, fixing education and cutting red tape so government is accountable. I want the job of serving Ohioans as our next governor and this is an important step forward.”

Taylor resigned as honorary chairman of Onward Ohio, a nonprofit political action committee that raised slightly more than $1 million to help Taylor elevate her name recognition and promote causes in which she believes. The PAC is forbidden from advocating for her election.

Taylor, a former state lawmaker and auditor, also serves as director of the Department of Insurance.

rludlow@dispatch.com

@RandyLudlow