Fred Strahorn was selected as the Ohio House candidate for the 39th District after a vote of 41-1 at the Montgomery County Democratic headquarters on Sunday.
Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens said he believed Strahorn’s experience as a state representative and senator earned the party’s endorsement to run for the seat now held by Rep. Clayton Luckie.
Luckie withdrew from the race after the Franklin County prosecutor confirmed that he is under investigation. Details have not been released.
“People knew him and knew he could do the job for them in Columbus,” Owens said.
Strahorn said he is excited about the possibility of going back to the statehouse.
“It was a job I fell in love with,” he said. “It’s a tremendous honor to represent the people in this community. The support here has always been overwhelming.”
Strahorn lost his state Senate seat in 2010 to Republican Bill Beagle of Tipp City. He said he learned a lot from the experience.
“I think I learned to be more aggressive, Strahorn said. “I think I can turn that up a notch. Through that whole process of running, I have improved my capacity to do things like fundraise get out and be in more places.”
Meanwhile, Strahorn said his party needs to focus on advancing Democratic values, which means “making sure that we’re taking care of people and make sure they understand who’s really out there fighting for them,” he said.
Jeff Wellbaum, the Republican candidate, said he is looking forward to a spirited contest with Strahorn.
“I’m going to try to represent the people of the 39th District and the rest of Ohio and help bring about a promising future for our children and grandchildren,” Wellbaum said.
County Democrats were forced to vote for a new candidate to replace Luckie in the November race for the state House seat after former Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin withdrew her name.
Democrats had to name a new candidate by today.
McLin, a former state legislator, said she is “focused on running for (Dayton) city commission next year” in a text message Saturday.
Luckie dropped out of the race last week. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien and Luckie have declined to give details.
During the meeting on Sunday, Owens’ acknowledgement of Luckie and his years of service was met with applause.
“He made a difficult a decision to withdraw his name as a candidate,” Owens said. “Many other candidates in like situations around the country have not done what Clayton did — put the interest of his constituents above his.”
Strahorn’s competition was Vic Harris, a retired Army lieutenant colonel with 22 years of military experience.
Harris told Democratic committee members Strahorn should run for the 5th District Senate seat.
“I’m a loyal diehard Democrat,” Harris said. “I support this party and I will continue to do so.”
After the vote, Harris said he had no plans to run for the Senate seat, but that could change.
“You never say never,” Harris said. “I may.”