State Sen. Bob Gibbs (R) filed paperwork last week indicating he will challenge Rep. Zack Space (D) in 2010.
Republicans have been searching for a top-tier contender to run against Space, who represents a very conservative and traditionally Republican area of the Buckeye State.
Gibbs is the first high-profile GOP candidate to file paperwork in the race, after several candidates turned down overtures from national Republicans to run.
Space won re-election over a little-known GOP candidate in 2008 by a margin of 20 points. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) defeated President Barack Obama last November in the district, 53 percent to 45 percent.
Two Republicans Jump In Race Against Boccieri
Two Republicans announced last week that they are running against freshman Rep. John Boccieri (D) next year.
“As a 26-year resident of this district, businessman, family man, and small town mayor, I know we can do better,— businessman Jim Renacci (R), who owns the local arena football team, wrote on his campaign Web site.
Former Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller also announced he will challenge Boccieri. This is Miller’s third bid for the seat: He lost to then-Rep. Ralph Regula and then state Sen. Kirk Schuring, respectively, in the 2006 and 2008 GOP primaries.
“We need a Representative who will reflect our values and priorities and serve the people of our district, not the desires of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and their out-of-state campaign contributors,— Ashland said in his campaign announcement.
Boccieri defeated Schuring 55 percent to 45 percent last cycle. Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won in the district with 50 percent, compared with 48 percent for President Barack Obama.