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Betty Sutton Running Against Freshman Republican in Member-Vs.-Member Race

Updated: 7:26 p.m.

Rep. Betty Sutton (D) filed to run against freshman Rep. Jim Renacci (R) today, solidifying Ohio’s third Member-vs.-Member race next year.

The three-term Democrat’s candidacy for the northeastern Ohio seat creates a competitive race, although the redrawn district leans Republican.

“Ohio families are hurting, and I can’t stand by on the sidelines while Republicans like Jim Renacci continue to enrich millionaires at the expense of the Ohio workers who struggle every day to provide for their families,” Sutton said in a statement.

Renacci didn’t waste time in responding to Sutton’s announcement.

“At a time when career politicians and Washington insiders have ground our political system to a halt, I have been using my experience in business to advance bipartisan solutions to the significant challenges we face as a nation,” Renacci said in a statement from his office this afternoon. “Regardless of who decides to enter next year’s race, I will continue to work tirelessly to improve the economy and bring jobs back to northeast Ohio.”

Sutton’s announcement comes on Ohio’s filing deadline for the March primary — but it’s unclear whether this will be the last time candidates can file for the House, or even if the passed Congressional map will remain law in 2012.

Ohio has scheduled separate elections in March and June for Senate and House primaries, respectively. But Ohio officials continue to mull revisions to the map and a new law that could reschedule the primaries so they would be on the same date. Sources said the discussed changes to the new map would not alter any of the Member-vs.-Member matchups but could slightly change the partisan makeup of some of the districts.

The Buckeye State will lose two House seats next year because of population loss.

Republicans redrew Ohio’s Congressional map earlier this year, moving six House Members into the same three districts. GOP officials moved Sutton and Renacci into the 16th district, GOP Reps. Steve Austria and Michael Turner into the 10th district, and Democratic Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich into the 9th district.