The Boardman attorney's announcement means there will be a Democratic primary in May for the 6th District seat.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Boardman Attorney Lou A. D'Apolito is running for Congress again this year, challenging U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland for the Democratic nomination.
"The numbers look like I can make a race out of it," D'Apolito said.
D'Apolito is the first announced challenger to Strickland, a Lucasville Democrat who will seek his fifth term in Congress this year. Strickland and D'Apolito are running in the new 6th District, which runs more than 300 miles along the state's eastern border.
The 12-county district includes Columbiana County and all but the northeastern portion of Mahoning County.
2000 race: D'Apolito ran in 2000 in the 17th District race as an independent and received 4 percent of the vote. He finished fourth in a six-person race, losing to incumbent U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.
D'Apolito said he is running for Congress because it is important that someone from the Mahoning Valley be elected to the seat.
"We need someone from this area or we'll get nothing," D'Apolito said. "I'm sure [Strickland] is a good guy and does a good job, but I don't think he can do a good job for us."
Strickland has visited Mahoning and Columbiana counties several times during the past few weeks and has picked up some key endorsements. Strickland insists he would properly represent the Valley in Congress.
Name recognition: D'Apolito said he has good name recognition in Mahoning and Columbiana counties, even though he only received 850 votes in Columbiana during the 2000 congressional race, as well as Jefferson County, where he has done legal work. Those three counties make up 46 percent of the 6th Congressional District's population.
D'Apolito plans to file his nominating petitions Friday.
Two Republicans considering running in the 6th District are former Columbiana County Commissioner Michael Halleck of Salem and former U.S. Rep. Lyle Williams of Lordstown. The filing deadline is Feb. 21.
Another potential candidate, Paul Alberty, will not run for Congress this year. Instead, the Poland Republican, who unsuccessfully ran for the 17th District seat in 1998 and 2000, will run for the 59th Ohio House seat against state Rep. Kenneth Carano, an Austintown Democrat.