WILLOUGHBY HILLS - Republican leaders in Ohio's 14th Congressional District, which includes a portion of Trumbull County, have selected Geauga County Prosecutor David Joyce to replace nine-term U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Joyce received the nomination Friday in a meeting of GOP chairs and central committee secretaries from the seven counties within the district, made up of all of Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties and parts of Trumbull, Summit, Portage and Cuyahoga counties.
Trumbull County Republican Party chairwoman Kathi Creed said she is satisfied with the pick.
''Marilyn (Thomas, party secretary) and I were of the same mind. We liked Dave Joyce, we liked a couple others as well, but he was our first choice as it came down to the end of the process,'' Creed said.
Joyce, of Russell Township, has served as prosecutor since 1988. Joyce will likely be favored over Democrat Dale Virgil Blanchard, of Solon, who has run for Congress 10 times.
Lake County GOP chairman Dale Fellows said Joyce is a ''great pick for us and for the district,'' and acknowledged that Joyce will have a battle in the fall, but he already has a support base in Geauga and Lake counties.
In addition to Blanchard, on the ballot are Elaine R. Mastromatteo, a Green Party candidate, and David Macko, a Libertarian candidate.
Fellows, who hosted the Willoughby Hills meeting as chairman of the GOP in Lake County in the heart of the district, predicted Joyce would keep the seat in Republican hands.
Blanchard, an accountant from suburban Solon, welcomed Joyce to the race and said he would campaign on a platform opposing tax cuts for the wealthy and backing lower taxes for low- and middle-income wage earners.
Blanchard said he has no intention of stepping aside for a better-known candidate. "I'm in the race. I'm in it to win it," he said in a phone interview.
LaTourette, who was elected to Congress in 1994, announced last month he wouldn't seek re-election. The Republican cited frustration over political gridlock in Washington for his decision.
LaTourette, a former Lake County prosecutor who collaborated with Joyce on crime issues, was elected during the Republican wave in 1994, when the party seized control of the House after decades in the minority. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
He was re-elected in 2010 with 65 percent of the vote. The 14th Congressional District narrowly went for Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.
In Trumbull County, included in the 14th District are Fowler, Vernon, Bloomfield, Bristol, Farmington, Greene, Gustavus, Johnston, Kinsman, Mecca, Mesopotamia, Orangeville and West Farmington.
LaTourette joins more than three dozen House members who have decided to retire.