Stephens not running for U.S. House

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 3, 2005

With Sixth District U.S. Congressman Ted Strickland running for governor next year, politicians from both parties are looking

to find someone to take Strickland's seat in Washington.

One local politician said he won't seek the spot.

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Lawrence County Commissioner Jason Stephens said he has opted not to seek the Republican nomination for the congressional job. This comes after several weeks of "testing the waters," which included meeting with Republican party leaders in several counties.

"I enjoy being in Lawrence County, I enjoy being a commissioner," he said. "When you have an open seat such as that its nice to think about it. I decided this was just not the right time."

Fund raising may also have been a factor. Running for any office in Washington these days is not cheap. The 6th congressional district poses a challenge in that it stretches from the eastern portion of Scioto County and essentially follows the river northward and eastward to Columbiana County.

"The money that has to be raised is phenomenal: six or seven figures, because the district is so big," he said.

One name mentioned among Republicans for the party's nomination is Ohio State Rep. Charles Blasdell of East Liverpool, who said he is giving the idea "serious consideration."

Among Democrats, Ohio State Sen. Charles Wilson of Bridgeport announced several weeks ago he does plan to run for the congressional seat.

He was not immediately available for comment.