Ryan Stuns 8-Term U.S. Rep. Sawyer In 17th District Primary

By JOHN McCARTHY, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - A state senator defeated an eight-term Ohio congressman Tuesday in the Democratic primary for a seat also sought by convicted Rep. James Traficant.

In the Nov. 5 election, first-term lawmaker Timothy Ryan will face Republican Ann Womer Benjamin, a union official also running as an independent, and Traficant, who was convicted last month on bribery charges and registered as an independent after serving previously as a Democrat.

With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Ryan (pictured, above) had 20,772 votes, or 42 percent, to Rep. Tom Sawyer's 12,421 votes, or 25 percent.

Ryan, 28, said he would have no comment until speaking directly with Sawyer.

Sawyer's district and Traficant's were merged into the new district by the Republican-controlled Legislature in January as Ohio lost a congressional seat in redistricting.

Political observers said Sawyer's support of the North American Free Trade Agreement could have hurt him in the blue-collar 17th District, whose voters blame NAFTA for job losses.

Ryan got many local union endorsements while Sawyer was favored by national unions.

Traficant was convicted in April of 10 counts of racketeering, bribery and tax evasion and is to be sentenced June 27. Although the maximum penalty is 63 years in prison, he likely would get less than 20 years because of federal sentencing guidelines.

Another Ohio primary ended a bitter campaign between political newcomer Roy Brown, a newspaper executive whose father and grandfather were congressmen, and former Dayton mayor Mike Turner.

With 56 percent of precincts reporting, Turner had 20,041 votes, or 79 percent, to Brown's 3,575 votes, or 14 percent.

Brown moved from the Cincinnati area to Dayton to run in the race, loaning his campaign $1 million. Turner, who has the backing of local and national GOP officials, accused his opponent of trying to buy the election.

The seat is open because Democrat Tony Hall is leaving the job after 24 years to accept the Bush administration's nomination as a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The GOP nominee will face Democrat Rick Carne, a former aide to Hall.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)