U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette's decision to step away from Congress has swelled interest to replace the nine-term Republican on the November ballot.
Some pretty big names in the GOP already have surfaced.
Kathi Creed, chairwoman of the Trumbull County Republican Party, says she's gotten calls from David Joyce, prosecuting attorney in Geauga County; Colleen Mary O'Toole, who is on the ballot for a seat on the 11th District Court of Appeals; and Ann Womer Benjamin, who lost to Democrat U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan in the 17th Congressional District race in 2002.
''There's a lot of good people coming out and wanting to do this,'' Creed said.
So far, Creed said, no one from Trumbull County has inquired.
Creed, Trumbull GOP secretary Marilyn Thomas and the other 12 party chairs and secretaries in the remaining six counties in the district - Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga, Portage, Summit and Cuyahoga counties - have until 4 p.m. Aug. 13 to pick a ballot replacement for LaTourette.
''We are just working on a process now,'' Creed said. ''As people are coming forward, we are asking them to submit resumes so we can take a look at them.''
Coordinating the effort is Dale Fellows, GOP chairman in Lake County, the most populous county in the district.
Zero can be done officially, Fellows said, until LaTourette withdraws from the race. LaTourette has indicated he will do that Wednesday to avoid a special election to get a person for the ballot.
Until then, there's a lot of talk happening between people interested in the 14th Congressional District seat and party leaders. There will be a lot of campaigning, too, in the next week.
Fellows said he knows of about two dozen people who are actively interested in seeking the seat. He wouldn't say who, only to avoid leaving out someone.
He's gotten 25 to 30 calls from people recommending someone, too.
''You have seven counties with a lot of great talent,'' Fellow said. ''It will be hard to choose just one person, quite frankly, because there are so many great people out there.''
ideastream, a non-profit that includes WVIZ/PBS, reported on its website that Cuyahoga County councilman Jack Schron has publicly expressed an interest in running for the seat.
Creed said she doubts there will be consensus among party leaders on one candidate when the field is whittled down to just a few. At this point, she says she's neutral.
''I want to give everybody a fair chance,'' she said.
Fellows, Lake County GOP chairman since 2001, said he met with LaTourette, a friend of about 25 years, to ask the congressman to reconsider, but he gets why LaTourette decided to get out.
''On a personal level, I can understand where he is coming from with the way Washington (D.C.) is,'' Fellows said.
The part of the 14th District that dips into Trumbull County is the communities of Fowler, Vernon, Bloomfield, Bristol, Farmington, Greene, Gustavus, Johnston, Kinsman, Mecca, Mesopotamia, Orangeville and West Farmington.