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Ohio University student wants Carey’s job


The first Democrat to vie for John Carey’s Statehouse seat is a 20-year-old college student who proved a successful dark horse in his first bid for political office.

Luke Scott of Wellston filed for the 93rd District of the House of Representative Monday at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

Carey is leaving the House on Jan. 1, to take a post at Shawnee State University.

Scott, a political science major at Ohio University at Athens, first ran for office in 2009 when he defeated the Republican candidate for the Second Ward of Wellston City Council, a GOP stronghold.

“I really think I have a chance,” Scott said. “The people are tired of not having representation in Columbus. They felt left out in Wellston and they have been happy I have put them first.”

Right now Scott is the only Democrat to file as the Wednesday deadline to get on the March 2012 primary ballot approaches.

On the Republican side, Jim Riepenhoff, 64, a Jackson County Commissioner, and Bill Dingus, 65, director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corp., filed last week.

Carey, also a Republican, has served either as state representative or senator since 1994. The 93rd District takes in all of Gallia and Jackson counties, part of Vinton County and all of Lawrence County except for Ironton, Coal Grove and Hamilton Township.

The House GOP leadership will appoint a successor for Carey; that person will finish out his unexpired term through 2012.

“When I ran in 2009, no one thought an 18-year-old would win in the biggest ward in the city,” Scott said. “I had 60 percent of the vote. I got out there and met the people and heard their issues. I didn’t make any promises I couldn’t keep.”

Scott, who describes himself as a fiscal conservative, doesn’t anticipate his age or lack of experience with the Columbus political scene will be drawbacks to his candidacy.

“In 2009 I looked at age as a disadvantage, but this time people are not looking at age,” he said. “People are looking at who I am. You are representing the 93rd District. I am not going to Columbus to make friends. I have plenty of friends in Jackson County.

“I’m up for it. Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.”