Democrat Congressman Tim Ryan and Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich when they run for re-election next year may have challengers from the Mahoning Valley.
The Rev. Matthew Smith, who received less than 100 votes in his unsuccessful bid to win the Democrat nomination for Youngstown mayor earlier this month, and Aaron McCord, who says his real name is Marcus Scissum, have expressed interest in the congressional and gubernatorial races.
Both men from Youngstown reached out to the newspaper to announce their intentions.
On Tuesday, I received a poorly written, disjointed letter with several misspelled words from Smith, who, according to the letter, wants to put ''youngtown back on the nap.''
But clearly, Smith wrote to say he wants to run against Ryan in 2014.
I phoned him that day to make sure he wrote the letter, leaving a message. I phoned him again Thursday, leaving another message. To my surprise, Smith showed up here Thursday afternoon to talk as a result of my telephone calls.
Smith, 55, who did write the letter, said he's circulating petitions now and plans to submit them to the Summit County Board of Elections this week. His platform is fixing what he says is a broken welfare system and addressing issues with children services.
He says he ran for mayor only to help improve his name recognition in anticipation of a congressional run. I don't know how well that worked because even in losing, he received less than 1.5 percent of the vote.
''My main goal was to try and get congressman,'' said Smith, who is pastor at Early Morning Church of God In Christ on Youngstown's East Side.
He didn't raise or spend any money in the mayoral race, but plans to for a congressional run. How much money Smith thinks he will need, he said he doesn't know.
''He (Ryan) don't know who he dealing with,'' Smith said.
I don't think Ryan is worried too much about Smith, nor should he be. Despite what appears to be an earnest effort on Smith's part to win the Democrat nomination away from Ryan, it's next to impossible for Smith to pull of such a feat.
McCord, who told me over the phone one day that he goes by the name Aaron McCord simply because he likes it more than Marcus Scissum, described himself in an email to the paper as ''an openly gay, African, Irish American Republican.''
McCord, too, says he's rounding up petition signatures.
In the email, McCord says he's well connected in Mahoning County and around the U.S. and that his family owns 120 acres of land in LaGrange, Ga.
McCord, 32, said in the email if his political career doesn't pan out, he wants to own his own business, run for president and bring a baseball team to New Orleans.