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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ryan to Columbus? (And later, D.C.?)

This tidbit was posted on the Washington Post's Web site Monday:

Ryan for (Lt.) Gov: Youthful Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan (he's 35) will announce that he is running for lieutenant governor later this week, according to two sources familiar with the decision. The LG’s office is being vacated by Lee Fisher who is one of several candidates running for the seat of retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R) in 2010. Ryan would presumably run as the hand-picked choice of Gov. Ted Strickland and, if the ticket is elected in 2010, would be the obvious favorite to replace the term-limited incumbent in 2014. Ryan's departure will create an open seat in the House where state Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro would be an early favorite.

Ryan, from Niles, represents Ohio's 17th Congressional District, which includes all of Portage and Trumbull counties as well as parts of Summit County and Mahoning County (including Youngstown).

The speculation revolving around Ryan's future seems plausible. Why else give up a seat in the U.S. House — one he could likely be re-elected to numerous times — unless he aspires to something higher? "But," you ask, "how is the Ohio governor's office higher than a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives?"

Well, those two offices alone may be debatable. However, should all of this play out and Ryan is elected governor sometime after Strickland leaves office, don't be surprised if he makes a run at becoming the President of the United States.

Might sound far-fetched, but don't rule it out. Being the governor of Ohio would be a nice stepping stone to the Oval Office.

Don't believe it? Look at Strickland. He left the U.S. House to run for governor at an opportune time, and one could argue Strickland aspired to be vice president on the coattails of Hillary Clinton, though the plan never came to fruition. Clinton of course lost the Democratic primary to eventual Pres. Barack Obama.

-- Michael C. Butz


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