Candidates looking to replace Letson in Ohio House

By David Skolnick


With state Rep. Tom Letson unable to run for re-election next year because of term limits, there are candidates lining up to replace him in the Ohio House 64th District.

Among the potential candidates are Michael O’Brien, a former Warren mayor and Trumbull County commissioner; Sheila Calko of Warren, program manager for the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership; and Ken MacPherson of Warren, who works for Oracle Corp. All are Democrats. Letson of Warren, a Democrat, and county Democratic Party Chairman Dan Polivka both confirmed those three are candidates, and the latter two also have Facebook pages touting their candidacies.

Also, Eugene Mach II of Warren, Youngstown State University’s Upward Bound coordinator, confirmed he will run in next year’s Democratic primary for the 64th District House seat.

“I have had the pleasure of serving my community through pre-college programs for the last seven years, and now I would like to help guide the educational policy that will continue to ensure Ohio students receive a first-class, 21st-century education,” Mach said.

There have been others, including some members of Warren City Council, who’ve expressed interest in the seat. The filing deadline for the May 2014 primary is Feb. 5.

Letson, first elected in 2006, cannot seek a fifth two-year term to the Ohio House next year because of the state’s term-limits law.

Finishing up his seventh year in the Ohio House, Letson said, “It has been incredibly fun I didn’t think it would move this quickly.”

The 64th includes the city of Warren, and village of West Farmington and 14 Trumbull County townships: Bloomfield, Braceville, Bristol, Champion, Farmington, Greene, Gustavus, Howland, Johnston, Kinsman, Mecca, Mesopotamia, Warren and Southington. The district also includes six townships and two villages in Ashtabula County.

Though he must leave the Ohio House at the end of 2014, Letson said he will give serious consideration to running for the Ohio Senate 32nd District seat in the 2016 election.

State Sen. Capri Cafaro, a Democrat from Liberty, cannot run for re-election in 2016, also because of the state’s term-limits law. The 32nd includes all of Trumbull and Ashtabula counties and a northeastern portion of Geauga County.

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