YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Former Valley Democratic lawmaker Bob Hagan said he is running for Ohio Senate, challenging Ohio Senator Michael Rulli.
Hagan confirmed on Twitter Monday that he is challenging the seat held by Representative Michael Rulli, R-33rd District.
“I am going to run for re-election to the state senate and ask the republicans why they are attacking our democracy,” Hagan wrote.
Hagan was the Mahoning County Board of Elections Monday in order to gather petitions to appear on the Democratic primary ballot.
Rulli said he plans to run for re-election. It would be his second and last run since he would then be term-limited.
Rulli said he compares running as having to “re-apply” for his job and the voters will decide who “gets hired,” adding that he is very proud of his work in the Ohio Senate and will run on his record.
Hagan called Rulli an “entitled wimp” and accused him of hiding from voters and taxpayers, specifically accusing Rulli of avoiding talking about the corruption that led to the removal of Larry Householder as speaker of the Ohio House. He also accused Rulli of being anti-vax and anti-mask.
“I think the biggest reason is I can’t let Mike Rulli go unchallenged. I don’t think anyone that’s running for office should go unchallenged,” Hagan said.
Rulli responded by saying that he is not going to engage in name-calling but described Hagan as a “leftist.” He also denied hiding from voters saying that he meets with 20,000 to 30,000 of them each week in his stores and at different events.
Hagan was first elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1986 and served until 1997 when he was appointed to the Ohio Senate. He was re-elected to that post in 1998 and 2002 before he returned to the Ohio House in 2006.
He was re-elected three times to the House and served as a ranking minority member of the House Commerce, Labor and Technology Committee. Term limits prevented him from running for re-election for a fifth term in the House.
in 2014, Hagan was elected to the Ohio State Board of Education. He stepped down in 2015.
Hagan also had an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of Youngstown in 2005. He also worked for 15 years as a locomotive engineer.