Rep. Tim Ryan (D) will leave the House after four terms to run for lieutenant governor in 2010, according to sources familiar with his decision.
Gov. Ted Strickland (D), a former House Member, is set to announce Ryan as his running mate for the 2010 statewide ticket.
A Ryan aide would not confirm his departure from the House, which was first reported by the Washington Post. But Ryan spokesman Brad Bauman acknowledged in an e-mail that the Congressman was on Strickland’s short list of possible lieutenant governor candidates.
“We understand from news reports that Congressman Ryan is on the list of potential running mates for Gov. Strickland,— Bauman said. “He is certainly honored just to be mentioned.—
Strickland is looking for a running mate because Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) is running for Senate in 2010. Ryan also considered running for Senate, but he decided against it and gave Fisher his backing.
A Democrat has represented Ryan’s district for more than 20 years, and the party is likely to hold onto it for at least another cycle until reapportionment and redistricting in 2011, when Ohio is expected to lose at least one seat.
Ohio Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro (D) has publicly expressed interest in running for Ryan’s seat; however, there are several other prominent local Democrats — including Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams — who could also run.
In 2004, Cafaro waged a successful primary campaign but lost her challenge to Rep. Steven LaTourette (R). In 2006, she lost to now-Rep. Betty Sutton (D) in the open-seat primary for now-Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D) House seat.