The relatively quiet campaign of Republican Marisha Agana, who’s running against U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, is about to get a lot louder.
Agana, a Howland doctor seeking political office for the first time, has selected Larry Nichols as her campaign manager.
Nichols has a long history as one of former President Bill Clinton’s most outspoken critics, dating back to their days in the 1980s in Arkansas with Clinton as governor.
Nichols was fired as director of marketing for the Arkansas Development Finance Authority in 1988 for misconduct for making more than 100 calls on state telephones to Contra leaders in Nicaragua.
In the lawsuit over his dismissal, Nichols accused Clinton of marital infidelity, including having an affair with Gennifer Flowers, which garnered national attention during the 1988 presidential election. Nichols dropped the lawsuit in 1992 but remains a vocal critic of Clinton, accusing the former president of various crimes as governor of Arkansas.
Nichols said he agreed to help Agana at the request of Pastor Ernie Sanders, who has a Christian radio show.
Nichols will run the campaign from his home in Conway, Ark.
Nichols said he doesn’t like President Barack Obama, a Democrat, or his policies. He said his campaign strategy is to connect Ryan of Niles, D-17th, to Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“I’ve learned so much in a short time from Larry,” Agana said. “I admire him. I’m not afraid to be tied to him. Larry is a good man and will help me win the race.”
Wiley Runnestrand, Ryan’s campaign manager, declined to comment on Nichols or his statements on the race.
Ryan and Agana are running in the new 13th Congressional District, which largely consists of the current 17th, including most of Mahoning and Trumbull counties. The boundary lines were changed through redistricting and take effect after the November general election.
As of June 30, Ryan had raised $736,728 for the race compared with $29,863 for Agana. Also, as of that date, Ryan had $232,568 in his campaign fund to $4,224 for Agana.
“We’ll need $150,000 to close out this race, and that can be raised,” Nichols said.
Nichols said he gives Agana “a little national credibility to win.”
Nichols said Clinton’s advisers have done a good job “branding me” in a negative light.
“There will be people who hate me with a passion because they love Clinton, but my name will open doors,” he said.