YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Now that Tim Ryan has decided to run for the U.S. Senate, that leaves his congressional seat open.
Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Tom McCabe knows that with Tim Ryan out of the congressional race, his party has a chance to hold the Mahoning Valley’s congressional seat for the first time since Lyle Williams, 36 years ago.
“It’s an exciting time, I think. I think Mahoning County, after 90 years, is finally moving towards purple,” McCabe said.
Judge Joe Schiavoni is one of the few potential candidates who said they’re not running for Ryan’s seat. Schiavoni has young children, a law practice, and was just elected judge, but he understands why some candidates are hesitant to commit.
“I think a lot of that is for good reason because of that uncertainty of what the district is going to look like,” Schiavoni said. “They’re going to recut that district, and they’re going to change that district.”
Some Democrats considering running for Congress are Sean O’Brien, Anthony Traficanti, John Boccieri, State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan and her husband Bob Hagan, along with Dan Polivka.
No Democrat First News talked to said they are definitely in.
The Republicans considering running are Ohio State Sen. Mike Rulli and Trumbull County Commissioner Niki Frenchko, while Christina Hagan and Robert Santos both say they’re running for sure.
Incumbent Congressman Bill Johnson will be on the ballot either for a House seat or possibly the Senate.
“I think if Johnson’s in our district, we won’t have a primary. I don’t know who would primary Bill Johnson,” McCabe said. “He was a war chest and a name and as the incumbent congressman, he probably would get a free ride in the primary.”
Mayor Cat Cercone-Miller has no intentions of going anywhere but Struthers. Mike O’Brien also is not interested. Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meachum plans to run again for auditor but says never say never. Chris DePizzo will take some time to make a decision. Kevin Wyndham says he’s not running and State Representatives Al Cutrona and Mike Loychik did not return our calls.