Greetings fellow Ohioans!

You probably know me as ABC's The Bachelor: Braeden McCormick, former cruise ship captain (ceremonial), proud American, and hopeless romantic. But today, I'm not addressing you in my capacity as Bachelor, but as a patriot, Ohioan, and candidate for Governor.

I know this announcement might come as a surprise to many. In fact, people have asked me, “Braeden, how will you possibly balance the immense responsibilities of being America's 57th Bachelor with running for the highest office in the great state of Ohio?” And my answer is simple: I will follow my heart. Also, filming wraps in four weeks, and although I have signed on to compete on Dancing with the Stars, I should be fully available to be Governor by mid-October, depending on whether I take home the Mirrorball Trophy, which I fully intend to do!

In any case: by November at the very latest, I will definitely be free to be the next Governor of the Buckeye State.

People have asked me, “Braeden, you've done so much in your life already: high-school quarterback, sea captain/shore excursions manager, and now Bachelor: what made you want to add Governor to your long list of accomplishments?” It's a good question, and I'll be honest: when I started my journey as Bachelor four weeks ago, I had no idea what a momentous responsibility it would turn out to be. I have felt the weight of our country's hopes and dreams on my shoulders as I've navigated getting to know forty-two amazing women, and it hasn't always been easy.

But as I have embarked on my journey as Bachelor, I've realized two things: one, I am so ready to meet my wife, and two, the government has no place in our pocketbooks, our gun cabinets, or our bedrooms.

Over the past four weeks, I've had a lot of time to think about what really matters to me. What I've realized is that I want a partner who can keep up with my active lifestyle (she has to love water-skiing; that's a deal-breaker!), who fears God, and who hates government interference in citizens' private affairs. It's not the government's business if a man wants to date, say, a llama. This is, of course, merely an example and is by no means one of my fantasies, but as Governor, I will stand up for all Ohioans. I know there are so many of you across our great state who work hard, pay your taxes, and simply want the Constitutional freedom to be left alone to explore your romantic options with members of the Camelidae family or maybe even other ungulates; I don't know, that's your business!

The other day, as I was being filmed soaping up in the shower, I had a couple of powerful realizations. First, I realized that I might be falling for Madison S. As a thirty-two-year-old man who has never been in love before, admitting to myself that I am, indeed, falling for a human woman was a real moment of vulnerability for me. I am so excited to see where this journey takes me! Second, I realized that I have a calling—a responsibility, in fact—to use my platform as Bachelor to fight for the rights of ordinary Ohioans, just like me.

Look, I know where I come from: a place where people go to work, say their prayers, eat their Wheaties, and don't want Big Brother telling them that it's not appropriate to mouth-kiss a vicuna. Again, this is merely an example of the types of everyday concerns that many Ohioans (although definitely not me) share.

People tell me all the time, “Braeden, I just want to be able to provide for my family. I want to be free to own my own home, choose my kids' school, and worship how I see fit. And, above all, I want to have the freedom to enter into a romantic relationship with whatever type of hoofed pack animal that I may so choose.” I want to tell you this, Ohioans: I hear you, loud and clear. Which is why I'm running on a three-pronged platform: I will protect our Second Amendment Rights, decriminalize interspecies relationships, and invest in critical infrastructure. As my grandfather always said, it's hard to argue with common sense.

Vote for Braeden McCormick in November (assuming that I am, in fact, done with Dancing with the Stars by then, which I definitely should be).

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