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Rep. Todd Book drops bid for Second Congressional race

PORTSMOUTH — State Rep. Todd Book (D-McDermott) has announced his intention to withdraw from the upcoming 2010 Democratic primary for Ohio’s Second Congressional District.

Book, who cited growing commitments in his current capacity as state representative for the 89th District as his deciding factor, leaves David Krikorian as the only current Democratic candidate in the upcoming May primary. Two independents have also shown interest.

The winner could end up facing Republican incumbent Jean Schmidt in next fall’s election. Schmidt has represented the second congressional district since a special election in 2005.

“The people of the 89th District elected me to be a leader in the statehouse and that is something I take very seriously. It is with that in mind that I have decided I cannot commit the necessary time to run for U.S. Congress. This was not an easy decision, but it is one that was made with the best intentions for my family, the good people of Southern Ohio, and the Democratic Party,” Book said in a statement posted on his Web site.

The 41-year-old attorney announced his candidacy in seeking to unseat Schmidt in July. Book is currently unable to seek re-election to the 89th due to term limits. He was elected in 2002 replacing long-time legislator Vern Riffe.

The 89th House District includes all of Scioto County, the western half of Lawrence County and the eastern half of Adams County.

“In recent weeks my duties as a state legislator have taken up much of my time. Ohioans went to the polls this past Election Day and voted for measures that will require new legislation and leadership in the statehouse. This is on top of a budget issue that has not been resolved and a looming Pension Bill that will come out of the committee that I chair,” Book said.

Book’s announcement comes just days after the Tri-State Building and Construction Trades Council rescinded its endorsement of him following allegations that his law firm was representing a non-union construction firm in Georgia.

The last Democrat to be elected to a full-term in the Second Congressional District was John J. Gilligan in 1964. It has been in Republican control for all but nine years since 1879.

The Second Congressional District is comprised of all or part of seven southern Ohio counties — Warren, Hamilton, Clermont, Brown, Adams, Pike and Scioto.