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Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio) weighed in on the Buckeye State Senate race Thursday, throwing his support behind Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in the contested 2010 Democratic primary.

“Lee Fisher is the best candidate to stand up for the needs of rural Ohioans,— Space told reporters on a conference call.

Fisher and Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner are running for the Democratic Senate nomination, setting up what could be a contentious primary next year. Space had considered running for retiring Sen. George Voinovich’s (R) seat, but he emphasized Thursday that his endorsement of Fisher precludes any statewide bid of his own.

“With this endorsement, I’m clearly announcing my decision not to run for U.S. Senate, but rather to run for re-election to the House of Representatives in Ohio’s 18th district,— Space said.

Fisher thanked Space for his endorsement and praised the Congressman, saying he “would have been a very, very, very formidable and effective candidate.—

Another Member who was weighing a Senate bid earlier, Rep. Tim Ryan (D), is also backing Fisher, although a formal announcement has yet to be made.

Fisher also has the backing of Gov. Ted Strickland (D).

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