The man, a pastor, has never run for public office.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
An East Liverpool pastor, who is a registered Democrat, plans to run next year for the 6th Congressional District seat as a Republican.
Tim Ginter, who's never run for public office before, issued a release saying he will officially announce his intention to run for the congressional position Wednesday in Steubenville.
The letterhead on the release reads: "Tim Ginter for Congress -- Ohio 6th Congressional District." The letter said he'd discuss his bid to run on the Republican ticket at next week's press conference.
Key Republican officials in the 12-county 6th Congressional District say they know next to nothing about Ginter, pastor at the River Christian Fellowship in the tiny Jefferson County town of Empire.
"He's never been to a Republican meeting," said David Johnson, a Republican state central committeeman, former Columbiana County GOP chairman and one of the state's most prominent Republicans. "We want to encourage people to get involved. Typically you don't have a novice running for Congress, Senate or president."
Ginter's voter information at the Columbiana County Board of Elections shows he first registered in the county in 2000. He and his wife, Pam, were evangelists traveling throughout the country before calling East Liverpool home.
Ginter never voted in partisan primaries until this past May when he voted in the Democratic primary. The only Democratic partisan race in East Liverpool in May was for city treasurer. Because of that vote, Ginter is considered a Democrat.
Mark Munroe, Mahoning Republican vice chairman, said he'd never heard of Ginter until finding out in the past few days that he is running for Congress.
Jerry Ward, Columbiana County GOP chairman, said he had lunch Thursday with Ginter at the minister's request to discuss his congressional candidacy. Ward said he agreed with Johnson that it's not typical for someone who's never run for office to seek a U.S. House seat in his first race.
There have been a few cases over the years of political novices running for a U.S. House seat in the Mahoning Valley including Diane DiCarlo Murphy of Beaver Township in the 6th District and Frank Cusimano of Howland in the 17th District last year. Those candidates were soundly defeated.
Vying for seat
Republican candidates already in the race are Noble County Commissioner Danny Harmon and Richard Holt of Lawrence County, who was defeated in last year's general election by a 2-to-1 margin by state Rep. Todd Book, a Democrat for the 89th Ohio House District seat.
Ohio House Speaker Pro Tempore Charles Blasdel of East Liverpool is considering a run for the seat. National Republican leaders are urging Blasdel to run in what should be among a small number of hotly contested congressional races in the country next year.
Blasdel hasn't announced his decision but is putting together a campaign committee for a run. If Blasdel gets in the race, key Republicans are expected to back his candidacy.
If Blasdel runs, Ward said he wouldn't endorse in the primary. His policy in any race including two or more candidates from his county is to not get involved until the primary is over.
The seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland of Lisbon, D-6th, who is running next year for governor.
On the Democratic side, state Sen. Charles Wilson of St. Clairsville, D-30th, is running for the post. Democrats mulling runs include state Rep. John Boccieri of New Middletown, D-61st, and former Mahoning County Commissioner Ed Reese. Murphy is also looking at running again in 2006.