He would face a four-term congressman in a Democratic primary.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County Treasurer John Reardon has opted not to run for state treasurer and is focusing his attention on a congressional bid.
Reardon, 44, of Boardman, said he is 90 percent sure that he will run in the Democratic primary for Congress against U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, a Lucasville Democrat.
Proposal: A proposed state redistricting plan calls for some or all of 12 counties along the eastern border to be in a congressional district. Strickland, a four-term congressman, lives in that district as does U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., a nine-term Poland Democrat.
The proposed 6th Congressional District, which stretches more than 250 miles, includes all but the northeastern portion of Mahoning County and all of Columbiana and Jefferson counties.
Columbiana and Mahoning would make up 34 percent of the proposed district. Those two counties plus Jefferson County would compose about 46 percent of the district. Strickland currently represents half of the counties in the proposed district, about 42 percent of the proposed district's population.
Reardon, county treasurer since January 1998, plans to make a final decision in a few days.
"Someone's got to step up to the plate from the Mahoning Valley," he said.
He is the only Valley resident to publicly state his interest in Strickland's seat.
Reardon's biggest obstacle is that he would be challenging a well-financed incumbent. But Reardon said based on population figures, a Valley candidate has a reasonable chance to win.
Strickland would probably spend $600,000 to $800,000 on his campaign, said Reardon, who hopes to raise about $350,000.
"I have to go to my friends and family to raise the money and hold fund-raisers and go to everyone in the Mahoning Valley who wants this area to have representation,"he said.
Financial concerns were among the biggest reasons Reardon said he opted to not run for state treasurer. He said it would take $2 million to compete against Treasurer Joseph T. Deters, a Republican seeking re-election.
Better service? Also, Reardon said he did not want to move his family to Columbus and thinks he could better serve the Mahoning Valley as a U.S. House member than as state treasurer.
Traficant plans to run for Congress but has not said which congressional seat he will seek. Under the law, state residents can run for any congressional seat in Ohio. Traficant faces bribery and racketeering charges during a federal trial set to start next month, making his political future uncertain.