Raising the needed $2 million for a statewide race is the main stumbling block.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County Treasurer John Reardon is mulling an offer from the Ohio Democratic Party to run as its state treasurer candidate.
Reardon, county treasurer since January 1998, says he will make a decision Monday or Tuesday. He is meeting with state Democratic officials Saturday in Columbus to discuss the position.
The Ohio Democratic Party is looking for statewide candidates from the Mahoning Valley. The reason is Democrats are hopeful that a Valley candidate would attract overwhelming support in Northeast Ohio, the party's base of power, that could lead to an upset over the Republicans, who control every state administrative elected position.
Republicans are fielding current officeholders in this year's statewide races.
"I'm honored and humbled to be recruited for this job," Reardon said. "But I'd need to raise $2 million to compete and that's a little intimidating. It's a tough decision."
Raising the needed $2 million for a statewide bid for attorney general was cited by Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains in October as a primary reason why he did not seek that position.
What happened: Reardon, 44, of Boardman, said he has not given the Ohio treasurer's position much thought because Cuyahoga County Treasurer James Rokakis was planning to seek the Democratic nomination. But Rokakis recently decided to pull out of the race, citing personal reasons.
"When he backed out, the state Democratic Party told me I was at the top of the list as a candidate," Reardon said.
Lauren B. Worley, Ohio Democratic spokeswoman, said the party believes Reardon would be a great candidate for treasurer, calling him "an outstanding public official."
The filing deadline for statewide office is Feb. 21. Reardon also has been mentioned as a potential congressional candidate.
Deters situation: Ohio Treasurer Joseph T. Deters, a Republican, is seeking re-election. Deters was planning to run for Ohio attorney general. But he withdrew from the race last month at the request of state Republican officials to avoid a messy primary with state Auditor Jim Petro, who is running for that spot.
"Joe Deters admits he doesn't want to be state treasurer and the only reason he's seeking re-election is the Republicans talked him out of the attorney general's race," Reardon said.
"Of all the statewide officeholders, Joe Deters is the most vulnerable because he's said he doesn't want to be state treasurer."
Matt Borges, Deters' campaign coordinator, said the Republican treasurer is preparing for the general election and for any Democratic challenge. Borges said it is disappointing that Reardon is using Deters' decision to not run for AG as a campaign issue.
"It's unfortunate that he would already start out with a negative attack," Borges said. "But Joe loves being state treasurer and will enjoy being state treasurer for the next four years."