He is the first Democrat to certify his intentions to run for the nomination.
By JEFF ORTEGA
COLUMBUS -- Mahoning County Treasurer John Reardon said he's running for state auditor next year to clean up what he says is corruption in the state's capital.
"Wherever we go, the sentiment seems to be strong that people are fed up with the corruption in Columbus, Ohio," Reardon said Tuesday.
Reardon referred to the situation swirling around the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation, which has been mired in investment controversies.
"People support the idea of putting a watchdog in place who's going to watch over people's money," Reardon said.
Reardon this week filed papers to form the Reardon for Auditor Committee, and Ohio Democratic Party officials say he is the first Democrat to announce his intentions to run for state auditor.
State Democratic Party Chairman Dennis L. White said he believes Reardon could be a good statewide candidate.
"I think he brings local government experience from a part of the state that has been tough economically," White said.
Ohio has lost more than 200,000 jobs since 2000 including many in Northeast Ohio.
According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Mahoning County had a 7 percent unemployment rate in June. Youngstown, the county seat, had an 8 percent unemployment rate, ODJFS said.
Ohio's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in June, ODJFS said. Nationally, the civilian unemployment rate was 5 percent for that month.
Reardon said if he gets the Democratic nomination and is elected next November, he wants to fully audit all of the state's trust funds including those at the BWC, the state's insurance fund for injured workers.
The BWC has lost about $300 million in various investments over the past few years, according to news reports.
Reardon, 47, said he also wants the state auditor's office to partner with local governments to help them become more efficient.
Reardon's campaign said it has about $143,000 so far, and Reardon said he believes a general election campaign could cost anywhere between $2 million to $3 million to wage.
At least one other Democrat, Ohio House Minority Leader Chris Redfern of Catawba Island in northwest Ohio, is exploring a bid for state auditor.
State Rep. Mary Taylor of suburban Akron, is the only Republican so far that has announced intentions to run for state auditor, Ohio Republican Party spokesman Jason Mauk said.
Incumbent state Auditor Betty D. Montgomery, a Republican, has announced plans to run for governor next year.
Reardon, of Boardman, was appointed Mahoning County treasurer in 1998, was elected to a four-year term in 2000 and re-elected in 2004.
According to his campaign, Reardon holds an undergraduate degree from Kent State University and a master's degree in economics from Youngstown State University.
The state auditor's office is responsible for auditing state government departments, counties, townships, cities, villages and school districts.
Candidates for statewide office in 2006 won't have to file nominating petitions until early next year, according to the secretary of state's office.