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6TH DISTRICT D'Apolito undaunted by incumbent's cash



Published: Sat, April 6, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Boardman attorney is concentrating his efforts in the congressional district's four upper counties.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

POLAND -- Challenging a well-financed incumbent congressman is never an easy task.

While some political experts give Lou A. D'Apolito somewhere between little to no chance of defeating U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland in the May 7 Democratic primary, the Boardman attorney who has never held political office remains unfazed by the challenge that faces him.

D'Apolito is concentrating his campaign efforts in the new 6th Congressional District's upper four counties -- Mahoning, Columbiana, Jefferson and Belmont -- where a majority of the district's residents live. The district runs for more than 300 miles along the state's eastern border, ending in Lucasville, Strickland's hometown in Scioto County.

"My strategy is to concentrate on those four counties, and I have made frequent appearances in those areas in recent weeks," D'Apolito said. "I've been thrilled by the reception I've received."

Strickland is also focusing his attention on the district's upper counties, making frequent appearances in those areas during the past few months. Strickland has represented the six lower counties in the district for four terms.

Valley candidate: D'Apolito, who finished a distant fourth in a six-person race for the 17th Congressional District seat two years ago, wants to exploit the fact that he is the only Mahoning Valley candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary.

"People in the northern part of the district tell me their biggest concern is they want someone from up here representing them," he said. "The distance is a concern."

D'Apolito said he has no idea how much money he will raise, but he "can't match [Strickland] dollar for dollar." Strickland has nearly $600,000 in his campaign war chest.

D'Apolito unveiled a campaign billboard Friday that will be featured in a dozen locations throughout the 6th District, with most of the signs in its upper four counties.

He says he envisions a tight race between him and Strickland, with him eking out a victory. D'Apolito said Charles Brown of Yorkville, the other Democrat in the primary, will probably take votes away from Strickland, which would help his cause.

skolnick@vindy.com




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