[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.trapicant2.0902.gi.jpg caption="Former U.S. Rep. and convicted felon James Traficant’s improbable bid to return to Congress appears to be over."](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.
Traficant’s only option now is to appeal the board’s decision, most likely by the end of the month, Dibble said. If that occurs, a full hearing will be held where Traficant may argue why certain signatures should have been counted that the board deemed invalid.
The former eight-term congressman, who represented Youngstown and its surrounding suburbs, told CNN in March he intended to run as an independent because “I see the Democrats are completely controlled by foreign interests and big lobbying money - The republicans are too, but the democrats more so.”
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.