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6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT Tablack opts not to run for seat; he wants to fix county's finances



Published: Sat, June 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The county auditor is up for re-election next year.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Another Mahoning County politician is no longer considering a run for the 6th Congressional District seat that will be open next year.

County Auditor George Tablack said he has dreamed of serving in Congress since he was a child. Tablack unsuccessfully ran for Congress in the 2000 Democratic primary, losing to then-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. His father lost a close Democratic primary in 1978 to then-U.S. Rep. Charles Carney.

"I'm giving up an aspiration I've quietly carried for a long time," Tablack said.

His main ambitions

Tablack said the main reason he decided not to run is he wants to focus his attention on fixing Mahoning County's troubled finances. The defeat of a 0.5-percent sales tax last year left the county with serious financial problems. Voters approved the sales tax last month, but the county can't start collecting the money until January.

"I'm more serious about fixing the problems of county government than my political future and political aspirations," Tablack said.

Tablack becomes the second Mahoning County official to opt out of the congressional race. County Treasurer John Reardon announced June 3 he would run for state auditor.

If he had run for Congress, Tablack would have been unable to run for re-election next year as county auditor, a position he's held since 1986.

Tablack said he made contact with numerous key people in the 12-county Sixth Congressional District. The district includes a portion of Mahoning County, all of Columbiana County and runs along the Ohio River to Scioto County.

About Boccieri

Tablack said he plans to ask his supporters to get behind state Rep. John Boccieri of New Middletown, D-61st. Besides the congressional position, Boccieri is thinking of running next year for Ohio secretary of state or for the 33rd Ohio Senate District seat. There are no incumbents for either race in 2006.

Tablack said he hasn't contacted Boccieri about his support.

"He possesses the character and integrity we should project for this community," Tablack said of Boccieri.

Boccieri couldn't be reached Friday to comment on Tablack's support.

The seat is open because U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, a Lisbon Democrat, isn't seeking re-election. He is running for governor next year.

State Sen. Charles A . Wilson Jr. of St. Clairsville, D-30th, is the only announced candidate for the congressional seat.

"I'm glad [Tablack] is staying at home to help his county," Wilson said. "However, I still believe there will be three candidates from Mahoning County. There's still several months before the filing deadline."

Ex-Mahoning County Commissioner Ed Reese and Diane DiCarlo Murphy, who unsuccessfully challenged Strickland in 2004, are considering runs for the congressional seat in next year's Democratic primary.

skolnick@vindy.com




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