(CNN) - Former Rep. James Traficant gets to run for his old congressional seat after all.
In early July, the Ohio Democrat - who spent seven years in prison on a bribery and racketeering conviction - fell about 100 names short of the necessary number of signatures needed to launch an independent bid as a candidate in Ohio's 17th congressional district.
But the Mahoning County Board of Elections on Monday night determined that Traficant had secured 11 more petition signatures than he needed to qualify as a candidate. The announcement was reported by local media. The decision followed a summer long battle by Traficant supporters to get the former congressman's name on the ballot.
(CNN) – Former U.S. Rep. and convicted felon James Traficant’s improbable bid to return to Congress appears to have ended before it began.
The Ohio Democrat, who spent seven years in prison on a bribery and racketeering conviction, fell about 100 names short of the necessary number of signatures to appear on the ballot as an independent candidate in Ohio’s 17th congressional district, according to Trumbull County Board of Elections official Jodi Dibble.
Traficant had submitted 4,000 signatures before the May 3 deadline, but an analysis by three election boards in the congressional district determined only 2,092 were valid. Traficant needed 2,199 valid signatures to secure a spot on the ballot.
(CNN) - Former Democratic Rep. James Traficant, who in September was released from a federal prison after serving seven years on a bribery and racketeering conviction, told CNN Tuesday he will launch an independent bid to return to Congress.
"I will be running for congress…as an independent," Traficant told CNN's Kyra Philips. "I have been a Democrat all my life, and quite frankly I am disgusted with both parties. I hate to say this. My father is rolling over in his grave, a truck driver."
The former eight-term congressman, who represented Youngstown and its surrounding suburbs, did not indicate which district he would run in, but Ohio television station WFMJ reports Traficant is eyeing a campaign in either the state's 6th or 17th congressional districts.
The 17th district, the seat Traficant formally held, is currently represented by Rep. Tim Ryan - a 36-year old former aide to Traficant who is considered to be a rising star in the Democratic Party. Ohio's 6th congressional district, which encompasses Ohio's southeastern boarder with West Virginia, is currently represented by two-term Democrat Charlie Wilson. The seat was formally held by Ted Strickland, the current governor of Ohio.
"I see the Democrats are completely controlled by foreign interests and big lobbying money. The republicans are too, but the democrats more so. I hypocritically cannot accept that," Traficant also told CNN.
Traficant has until early May to file as an Independent in either district.
(CNN) – Former Democratic Rep. James Traficant, who in September was released from a federal prison after serving seven years on a bribery and racketeering conviction, will make a bid to return to Congress.
According to the Business Journal Daily, Traficant told a group of Ohio business leaders earlier this week he is "going to run” for Congress in 2010.
But the former eight-term congressman, who represented Youngstown and its surrounding suburbs, did not indicate exactly what district he would run in.
“I’m going to run for Congress somewhere," he said.
Traficant's former district, the 17th, is currently represented by Rep. Tim Ryan, a 36-year old former aide to Traficant who is considered to be a rising star in the Democratic Party.
Speaking with CNN in September, Traficant said he doesn't expect any help from the Democratic Party in his congressional bid.
"Both parties would not want to see me in Washington, believe me… I was very controversial down there," he told CNN's John Roberts then.
(CNN) - Former Democratic Rep. James Traficant, who only days ago was released from a federal prison after serving seven years on a bribery and racketeering conviction, told CNN Monday he may make a bid to return to Congress.
"I'm not sure at this point," Traficant told CNN's John Roberts on American Morning when asked if he wanted to seek a return to the body that, in a near unanimous vote, voted to expel him more than seven years ago.
"Both parties would not want to see me in Washington, believe me… I was very controversial down there," he said. "I'm the guy that changed the burden of proof in a civil tax case and had a bill moving forward that would finally, with the fair justice act, allow these people in the Justice Department to be charged and investigated and prosecuted for crimes."
Traficant also brushed aside recent criticisms from the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio - his hometown - that the former congressman is no longer representative of Ohio voters.
"I think I did a few things around Youngstown that helped Youngstown and improved Youngstown," said Traficant. "So I'm going to have a lot of…opposition if I do run, but quite frankly, I don't give a damn.
"You know, beam me up, I'm ready if I decide to run," Traficant also said, using his trademark closing like from Star Trek.
(CNN) - Former Rep. James Traficant had a triumphant homecoming Sunday night, his first public appearance since being released from federal prison, a local paper reports.
The Youngstown Vindicator said Monday a supporter-organized welcome home dinner for the former Democratic congressman, which drew the capacity crowd of roughly 1,200 Sunday, included performances by an Elvis impersonator and a polka band, as well as a speech from Traficant himself.
The newspaper reported that Traficant was defiant, telling listeners that he'd "been hounded by some government people for a long time" and that the government "had to cheat to convict me."
"'If you want to know the true nature of a country, you must go through its prisons,'" said Traficant, quoting former South African leader Nelson Mandela, who spent nearly three decades in prison. "I know America. I've seen the other side of it, and I don't like it."
Traficant was released Wednesday after serving just over seven years in federal custody for charges that included racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and bribery.
The Vindicator reported that Columbiana County Republican Chairman David Johnson, who tried to defeat Traficant for years, was on hand for the event, and said the former congressman would have his support if he mounted another bid for office.
"I would support (Traficant) tomorrow if he ran for Congress," Johnson told the paper.
(CNN) – He may have left federal detention quietly, but - like almost everything else about James Traficant - the former congressman's Youngstown, Ohio homecoming promises to be a little bit over-the-top, and impossible to ignore.
A special "Traficant release night"-themed home game by the area's minor league baseball team, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, was canceled after a wave of criticism.
But a welcome home banquet for Traficant - what supporters are calling "an appreciation dinner" - will be held Sunday afternoon at a local banquet hall, where a representative said the venue was expecting 1,200 guests.
One of the organizers, Tony Trolio, told CNN that 1,200 was the official capacity crowd for the event, but that roughly 765 tickets had been sold as of midweek. The agenda is slated to include musical performances - including an appearance by an Elvis impersonator - and a PowerPoint presentation chronicling highlights of Traficant's congressional career.
ROCHESTER, Minnesota (CNN) – Former Rep. James Traficant was released from federal prison Wednesday.
CNN affiliates KTTC and KAAL report that Traficant - sporting knee socks, shorts and a t-shirt, with his hair pulled back in a ponytail - left the Federal Medical Center prison facility in Rochester, Minnesota Wednesday morning in a cab.
Despite earlier reports that the nine-term Democratic congressman was headed for the local Greyhound station, the morning bus headed for his hometown area of Youngstown, Ohio left without him on board, and his name did not appear on the manifest.
Traficant served just over seven years in federal prison for charges that included obstruction of justice, tax evasion and bribery.
–CNN All Platform Journalist Chris Welch contributed to this story
(updated 12:30 pm with new information)