Despite a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee telephone poll gauging voter interest on a potential return to Congress, ex-U.S. Rep. John Boccieri said he’s “not looking to run.”
Boccieri, a Democrat, is commander of the 773rd Airlift Squadron at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna and an Air Force Reserve lieutenant colonel. He said his unit is being deployed for several months either later this year or next year.
“Right now, I don’t see how that’s a possibility with my military commitment,” Boccieri said about running for Congress. “My focus is on the military. I’d love to return to Washington. I haven’t ruled out a future run. But I’m not looking to run” in 2014.
The DCCC conducted a telephone poll Monday in the 16th Congressional District, west of the Mahoning Valley, according to The Plain Dealer, asking who voters would support in a race between U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, a Republican from Wadsworth, and Boccieri, who lives in Alliance. Poll results are not yet available.
The DCCC recruits and raises money for Democrats running for U.S. House seats.
Boccieri said he keeps in contact with his former congressional colleagues, but the poll “kind of caught me by surprise.”
Renacci beat Boccieri by about 11 percentage points in 2010. Renacci beat Betty Sutton, a Democrat from Copley, last year by about 4 percent in a race between two incumbents.
Boccieri used to live in Mahoning County and represented the area in the state Legislature for eight years before his 2010 election to Congress. Boccieri said he and his family plan to move in a couple of months from Alliance to Poland.
In reaction to Boccieri’s statement, Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said, “Boccieri is proof that Washington Democrats will continue to struggle with recruitment thanks to the failed leadership of [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi and the growing frustration with the Obama administration.”
In December 2012, Boccieri filed a “statement of candidacy” with the Federal Election Commission for the 7th Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, a Republican from Lakeville.
Boccieri said he had money left in a campaign account, and it was used for holiday cards and a computer program that makes it easier to file campaign-finance reports with the FEC. The 7th District consists of portions of the state — including Stark, Ashland and Medina counties — that Boccieri represented before congressional redistricting last year. Boccieri said he plans to close the congressional account shortly.