GOP newcomer seeks Congress seat
John Keytack calls himself 'Joe Everyman.'
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
WARREN -- The former chief of public affairs at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, who has never before run for public office, is diving head first into the political pool -- saying he will run as a Republican candidate in the 17th Congressional District.
John Keytack of Warren, 47, is circulating nominating petitions for the 17th District, which includes most of Trumbull and Portage counties, all but the northeast portion of Mahoning County, and a portion of Summit County.
Keytack said he is not concerned that he will face well-seasoned politicians who will be able to outspend him during the race.
"The Founding Fathers did not intend for there to be career politicians," Keytack said. "The way I look at it, I'm Joe Everyman. I have just as good of a chance as anyone."
Air Force man: Keytack spent about 20 years in the Air Force and left the military branch in 1999. While at the air base, Keytack said he got to know several local politicians, including a few who are considering runs in the 17th District, and has a great deal of respect for them.
"It's a win-win for the voters," Keytack said of his candidacy. "The best-case scenario is both parties field great candidates and the people win either way."
Other candidates: Unlike Democrats, Craig Bonar, Trumbull County Republican chairman, said he is confident his party will not have a primary for the 17th District seat.
Other Republicans considering getting into this race are former U.S. Rep. Lyle Williams of Lordstown and Paul Alberty of Poland, who unsuccessfully ran for the job in 1998 and 2000. Alberty beat Williams in the 2000 GOP primary.
Williams and Alberty could choose to run for Congress in the new 6th District, which stretches down the eastern border of the state from Mahoning County to Scioto County. The filing deadline is Feb. 21.
State Sen. Robert F. Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat, and state Rep. Anthony Latell Jr., a Girard Democrat, have announced plans to run for the 17th District. Also, U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., a Poland Democrat, is leaning toward running in the 17th District over the 6th District. U.S. Rep. Thomas C. Sawyer, an Akron Democrat, is also deciding what position he will seek this year and could run for the 17th District seat. State Sen. Timothy Ryan, a Warren Democrat, is also mulling the possibility of running for the congressional position.