Jessica M. Karmasek Apr. 16, 2013, 2:00pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) -- Democrat David Pepper announced Monday his plans to run for Ohio attorney general in 2014.

In a statement, Pepper said he is running because Ohioans deserve an attorney general who will keep them safe from crime, protect them from economic predators, defend their most essential rights against political and partisan attacks, and be an aggressive watchdog over their tax dollars.

"I have been traveling the state for years now listening to working and middle class Ohioans and it is clear they want a change, a new direction at all levels," he said. "I'm running for Ohio attorney general because Ohioans deserve better."

Pepper contends the office should be "above partisan politics."

"It is time to clean up Columbus, and that requires restoring the Ohio attorney general's reputation as an advocate and watchdog for us all," he said.

In 2010, Pepper ran unsuccessfully for state auditor.

He formerly served as a councilman for the city of Cincinnati as well as a commissioner for the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.

He will challenge Republican incumbent Mike DeWine for attorney general.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Pepper has been critical of DeWine's recent decision to join a group of 12 other attorneys general in urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to adopt broader religious exceptions to its controversial contraception mandate.

The mandate, which was imposed under the health care law signed by President Barack Obama in 2010, requires employers to offer contraception coverage or they may be fined.

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