Part 4: Who’s Running? – Demcrat-held House Seats

This week I am writing a series on candidates running for General Assembly open seats in 2014. In part 1, I gave some background on what to expect next year and the importance of open seats. In part 2, I covered the four open seats in the Ohio Senate. In part 3 (post A and post B), I listed the candidates for the seven open seats currently held by Republicans. Today’s post, the last installment in the series, covers the 13 Democrat-held Ohio House open seats.
Most of these districts lean heavily Democrat, which is why there are so few Republican candidates running at this point.
Here are the first four, to be followed by two more posts with the rest.
House District 8 (Cuyahoga County – Cleveland)
Kent Smith (D) – Smith is looking to fill the spot being vacated by former Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish, who is running for Cuyahoga County executive. He is currently a member of the Euclid School Board, and a former member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
Scott Lynch (D) – Lynch is also from Euclid and currently serves on the Euclid City Council. At 28, he will inject some youth and energy into the race. His father is former Euclid Mayor David Lynch, which will help with name recognition in what is likely to be a competitive primary race.
Jocelyn Conwell (D) – An attorney in Cleveland, Conwell refiled her candidate committee in May. Little information is available regarding her candidacy for 2014.
House District 9 (Cuyahoga County – Cleveland)
No candidates have come forward to formally announce their candidacy for Rep. Barbara Boyd’s seat, but this heavily Democrat district will likely produce a competitive Democrat primary.
House District 11 (Cuyahoga County – Cleveland)
Michael Houser (D) – With Rep. Sandra Williams term-limited and running for the Senate, House District 11 will need to find a new representative. Michael Houser was one of the first to jump in. At only 25, Houser doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he has worked on campaigns for Sherrod Brown and Tim Ryan.
Gigi Traore (D) – Also a young candidate at 33, Traore is looking to solidify her position in Cleveland politics, but like Houser lacks experience. Last year she was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
House District 14 (Cuyahoga County – Cleveland)
Michael Piepsny (D) – Rep. Mike Foley is term-limited in 2014, opening the door for some new candidates, including Michael Piepsny. He currently serves as the executive director of Environmental Health Watch, and previously had been the executive director of the Cleveland Tenants Organization. Rep. Foley also served in the same position with the Cleveland Tenants Organization before running for the House.
Steve Holecko (D) – Holecko is a self –described “progressive Democrat” who recently retired as a school teacher in Berea. He has served on the executive council of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, and has been involved in Berea’s local chapter. He was a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, but like Piepsny has not run for public office.

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