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Johnson plans to relocate

Published: Thu, December 23, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.


U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Poland, R-6th

By David Skolnick



U.S. Rep.-elect Bill Johnson wants to sell his house in Poland after the holidays and likely relocate to the Marietta area, the central part of the 6th Congressional District.

Johnson’s house on Hunters Hill in Poland is not in the 6th Congressional District — it’s in the 17th, about two miles from that 12-county district that includes about half of Mahoning County and all of Columbiana County.

Marietta, in Washington County, is in the heart of the district. It was the only area specifically named as a potential new home for Johnson, a Republican, and his family in a statement from Christian Palich, Johnson’s transition director, about a move.

Johnson’s decision to relocate is a “politically shrewd move” as it relates to the 2012 congressional redistricting plan, said Bill Binning, former chairman of the Youngstown State University’s political science department.

“It serves a dual purpose by putting him in the heart of the district, and when that district is redrawn, it might position him better being in the middle because that district isn’t moving north” into more of Mahoning County, said Paul Sracic, YSU political science department chairman.

With Ohio losing two congressional seats because its population grew considerably slower than the rest of the nation, the 16 districts to be redrawn for the 2012 election in the state each will grow by about 100,000 people.

With Johnson leaving Mahoning County, most or all of it could be added to the district of U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, Binning and Sracic said. Ryan’s district also could be expanded west, possibly putting him in a race with another incumbent Democrat, they said.

If Johnson moves to Marietta, about 160 miles from his Poland home, his fellow Republicans, who control the redistricting process, could draw him a “stronger Republican district” to keep him in office, Binning said.

“While there’s little doubt that the borders of the 6th District will be drawn very differently in two years, Bill is making his choice of a new neighborhood based principally on what’s best for him to connect with voters in every corner of this sprawling district,” Palich said.

Johnson has lived in Poland since June 2006. A retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, Johnson has family in the Marietta area.

Outgoing U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, a Democrat from St. Clairsville who lost to Johnson in last month’s election, doesn’t live in the district he represented for the past four years. He’s a few miles west of it.

When the 6th was redrawn in the 2002 election, then-U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, now the outgoing governor, moved from Lucasville, the farthest point south in the district, to Lisbon in Columbiana County, the largest county in the 6th. Strickland also had a condominium in Columbus at the same time.

Johnson’s decision to leave Mahoning County drew sharp criticism from David Betras, the county Democratic Party chairman.

“It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in psychology to see that Mr. Johnson is trying to tell us that Mahoning County and the Valley are not priorities to him,” he said.

Palich said, however, “No matter which part of the district he hangs his hat, Bill Johnson’s heart will always be inclined toward fighting for the working families that live here, and that includes those in the Mahoning Valley.”

Mahoning County Republican Chairman Mark Munroe said he has no concerns that Johnson is leaving his county.

“He’s moving into the district he represents,” said Munroe, who added that he didn’t think there was a connection between the planned move and redistricting.

Johnson wrote in his candidate questionnaire for The Vindicator in September that “when the opportunity to locate to the Mahoning Valley came along we jumped at it. And, we chose the Mahoning Valley because we couldn’t think of a better place to raise a family. We love it here. We’re here because we want to be here. While many others are leaving due to economics and other factors, we choose to live here, get involved, and make a difference.”


1timOthy(802 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Well we knew this was a Political Move. What gets me he didn't live in said district and was permitted to run. Which I feel his election was handled with FALSE INTENTION. Lets have another election Columbianana County and District! Bet you don't win again!

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2republicanRick(1736 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Johnson decides to run for office because he's upset with the direction of the country. He wins election and thinks it's best to live in the middle of his district to give better representation to all his constituents. What's wrong with this?
By the way, Betras is becoming a clown with all his silly posturing. Luckily he's too stupid to be a crook, but he's just stupid enough to be our new gadfly.

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3faith(200 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Wild Bill is a joke. His own party is gonna put him on the chopping block. He made his money off the backs of working folks, now he will stick it in their rear, again. Rick, FYI, his district is gonna change.

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4valleygal(25 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

So, it is okay that good ol' boy Charlie Wilson didn't live in the district, but because Bill doesn't at this time you have a problem with that? Kudos to Bill for wanting to live in the district he is serving!

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5goodwinM81(2 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Why shouldn't he live in the district that he represents? I have more of an issue with that, then him leaving the valley. I sometimes think that Betras just likes to hear himself talk!

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6faith(200 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

sure Betras likes to talk but this Wild Bill is a joke. He only got elected because of the republicants title wave. Like DeWine for AG. Who votes for that guy, even the republicants i know dont like him. o-well, sit back and enjoy the ride, Ohioans are gonna need some lube.

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7redvert(2240 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

"Ohioans are gonna need some lube."

Why, did they run out after four years of Strickland? I better leave it at that or I will get into trouble?

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