Ohio Rep. Chuck Blasdel, R-East Liverpool, got the endorsement on Friday in his run for Ohio's 6th Congressional District seat. The district stretches 330 miles along the Ohio River from eastern Scioto County to south of Youngstown.
With a population of more than 110,000, Columbiana County is the district's second-most populated county behind only Mahoning County, which is split between the 6th and 17th districts.
Strickland is running for Ohio governor and is prohibited by state law to run for both a state and federal seat at the same time.
Blasdel is the Speaker Pro Tempore - the second highest position in the Ohio House of Representatives - and serves on the Ways and Means, State Government, and Rules committees.
Audrey Jensen, the Central Committeewoman, said the 6th District race is one of the most highly targeted in the country and called for Republicans to support Blasdel.
“We need to get behind our strongest candidate and give him the support that he has given our party and our community for so many years,” she said.
David Johnson, Republican State Central Committeeman, said that divisive primaries have split the party and hurt Republican chances for victory in November elections.
“The Democrats have a clear path to the General Election,” he said. “We need to rally behind Chuck Blasdel as a party and give him the same benefit.”
Other Republicans running for the 6th Congressional District include: Tim Ginter, of East Liverpool, an Evangelical pastor and ex-Jefferson County Conservative Coalition chairman; Danny Harmon, of Batesville, a Noble County commissioner; and Richard Holt, of Gallipolis, a consultant.
There is one Democrat who has announced he is running for the seat - Charlie Wilson, of Bridgeport, an Ohio senator and former Ohio House minority whip.
The filing deadline for candidates is Feb. 16 and the primary is May 2.
MARK SHAFFER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.