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Ex-Rep. (and Ex-Con) Traficant Weighs Comeback

Beamed out of Congress and imprisoned seven years ago after his conviction on federal corruption charges, ex-Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) is weighing a political comeback.Traficant, widely known during his House tenure from 1985 to 2002 for his bombastic populism and his signature “Beam me up!— expression of indignation against the government, said at a press conference Thursday that he would distribute nominating petitions in three Congressional districts to gauge support for a 2010 House bid.Press reports said Traficant didn’t specify which districts he’s looking at. But two of them almost certainly are the 17th district, which includes Youngstown and part of Akron and is represented by four-term Rep. Tim Ryan (D), and the 6th district, which envelops part of the Mahoning valley near Youngstown and a hardscrabble area in southern Ohio’s Appalachia and is represented by two-term Rep. Charlie Wilson (D).“I will assess my strengths and make a determination probably by the end of January,— Traficant said, according to the Business Journal Daily.Traficant called the press conference to promote a bid to bring a casino and resort for Ohio’s Mahoning Valley.Traficant was convicted in April 2002 of 10 counts of bribery, racketeering and tax evasion. The House expelled him in July. He ran for re-election from federal prison as an Independent, winning 15 percent of the vote in a race that Ryan won. Traficant was released from prison in September after serving seven years.“I’m proud of being an ex-con, by the way,— Traficant said.

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