• 36°

Strickland watching redistricting plans

U.

Monday, January 14, 2002

U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland said he’s almost certain Lawrence County will remain under his representation after new congressional district lines are drawn this week.

Strickland, who once considered running for lieutenant governor if the Sixth District was eliminated, said he will stick to Congress – and stick to as many counties in the old distict as he can.

"I consider this district my personal home, quite frankly," he said. "I’m going to run for Congress I just don’t know if I can run in my present district."

Strickland said his district may move farther north and east. State leaders are expected to release boundary maps Tuesday or Wednesday, he added.

Because its population did not grow as much as other states between 1990 and 2000, Ohio will lose one of its 19 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, per federal law.

The new congressional district lines are expected to favor Republicans because Republicans control both the Ohio House and Senate – the bodies that must agree to the redrawing of boundaries.

Sources familiar with those new boundaries told The Associated Press on Friday that the congressional district of Democrat James Traficant would be divided among other districts for this year’s elections.

Republican and Democratic sources speaking on condition of anonymity said the districts of Reps. Steven LaTourette and Robert Ney, both Republicans, and Democrat Tom Sawyer should get the bulk of the northeast Ohio district.

The districts of Sawyer, Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, Sherrod Brown, Strickland and Stephanie Tubbs Jones should remain more favorable to Democrats, the sources said. The Dayton-area district of Democrat Tony Hall, however, likely will be expanded into Republican territory, the sources said.

Strickland’s district likely will be drawn eastward, up the Ohio River, as Ney’s district moves to the west, the sources said.

Strickland said he would feel ”very, very at home” in riverside counties. His current district stretches along the river from Portsmouth through Lawrence County to Marietta.

Strickland said he was concerned that his district would be pushed northward to include Licking County, home to state Sen. Jay Hottinger. Republicans approached Hottinger about running for Congress months ago, but he said Friday that he likely would seek re-election to the Senate.

”With the lines I think that ultimately will be approved, I would not be a candidate for Congress,” Hottinger said.

Strickland, a Democrat from Lucasville, toured Republican Bob Ney’s 18th district on Tuesday last week, meeting people and listening to their concerns.

"I’ve been getting out, trying to prepare," the congressman said.

Strickland was first elected to Congress in 1992. He was defeated by Republican Frank Cremeans in 1994, then defeated Cremeans in a rematch in 1996.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.