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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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Will Joyce have a primary opponent for Congress race?

The decision about who runs for Ohio House of Representatives District 76 may just determine whether there is a Republican primary for Ohio’s 14th Congressional District.

State Rep. Matt Lynch, R-Bainbridge Township, might not seek re-election to his seat in the Ohio House of Representatives that represents a large portion of Geauga County and a smaller section of Portage County.

Lynch has pulled petitions to seek re-election to his position as a state representative, but he also has pulled petitions to run for Ohio’s 14th Congressional District that is currently represented by U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Russell Township. Joyce has filed to run for re-election.

The congressional district consists of all of Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties, plus portions of Cuyahoga, Portage, Summit and Trumbull counties.

Lynch appears to be deciding what office to pick, and he may have a primary opponent for either race.

Sarah LaTourette, a Bainbridge Township Republican and daughter of former U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, is considering running for Ohio House of Representatives District 76. She has pulled petitions, but hasn’t filed yet.

If Sarah LaTourette were to run for the Ohio House, I would think she could get some help from her father’s connections, especially since he is the president of the Main Street Partnership in Washington D.C., which seeks to help elect moderate Republicans across the country.

It may be a tough road for Lynch to take on Joyce, a first-term congressman who already has $1,141,353 in his campaign account, according to his latest filing.

Of course, how much money is raised and spent doesn’t mean it’s impossible to beat someone with such a financial headstart, but it certainly won’t make it easy.

According to the last Ohio House campaign spending report Lynch filed back in July, he had $2,747 available to spend, but he also listed more than $32,000 in debts and loans owed by his campaign. Unless he’s had a lot of contributions since, he won’t have much of a financial headstart in an Ohio House race.

Of course, Sarah LaTourette has yet to even file, so Lynch would have some advantage already having campaigned previously in the district.

Decisions may come down to the final hours before the 4 p.m. deadline Wednesday for partisan candidates to be eligible to run in the May 6 primary. Who blinks and files first?

If Sarah LaTourette runs, and then Lynch runs for Congress, wouldn’t that be interesting? You’ll recall Joyce succeeded Steve LaTourette in Congress, and now the former congressman’s daughter potentially entering an Ohio House race could prompt a primary for Joyce.

Fascinating too that Joyce may face a primary challenger from someone who is from the same county, especially since Joyce has such a headstart raising the dollars to run a campaign.

Lynch has earned a reputation as one of the more conservative members of the Ohio House of Representatives. Perhaps he would get some financial backing from similarly aligned supporters and groups if he runs for Congress. He likely would get them in a bid for re-election.

Even so, with just three months to put together a campaign, support staff along with opposition research and a media campaign, would Lynch be able to unseat Joyce?

On the Democratic side, Moreland Hills resident Michael Wager is the only candidate to file for the congressional seat. Will any other Democrats file? Wager’s last campaign finance report showed he has $347,645 available.

It’s starting to look doubtful Lake County Commissioner Daniel P. Troy, a Willowick Democrat, will run for Congress, as he has pondered, and much more likely he’ll seek re-election. Troy will host a campaign fundraiser in March and information he sent out indicates he’s running for re-election as commissioner, although he hasn’t officially made a decision.

Three Republicans have filed to run for commissioner. After North Perry Village Councilman Dick Shreve filed first, the latest to enter the race are Concord Township Trustee Christopher Galloway and Willoughby resident Kim Laurie, who is president of the 9/12 Project in Mentor.


  • Lisa Klammer, candidate for Lake County Probate Court judge, hosts a fundraiser, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at LaMalfa Party Center in Mentor. See Randy Klammer.
  • Troy hosts Mardi Gras Party and Fat Tuesday, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 4 at LaMalfa Party Center. See Kip Molenaar.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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