By TOM GIAMBRONI
LISBON - The 2014 state representative race is shaping up to be a rematch of 2012, with an Libertarian candidate thrown in to make things interesting.
State Rep. Nick Barborak, D-Lisbon, and Craig Newbold, the incumbent Republican he defeated two years ago by 507 votes out of 44,000 cast, both filed candidacy petitions Tuesday with the Columbiana County Board of Elections.
Neither has any party opposition so far, and the filing deadline is 4 p.m. today for candidates wanting to run in the May 6 primary election.
If Barborak and Newbold remain unopposed in their primary races, as is likely to occur, they will proceed to the November general election, where they are expected to be joined by Libertarian Party candidate Martin Elsass, who filed to run for state representative back in the fall.
The field could get even bigger since the filing deadline for independent candidates is May 5.
Barborak issued a news release announcing his re-election bid, saying the one thing he has learned during his first year in office is "the people want officials to stop bickering and work together in a bipartisan manner. They want us to find ways to help entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs."
He believes the best way to foster job creation is by funding public works projects. "When we provide better infrastructure, high quality schools and safer neighborhoods, companies will be more likely to locate here," he said, pointing to his vote in support of the highway projects bill. He has also argued for more school funding and introduced a bill to give judges more leeway in sentencing drug dealers.
The 39-year-old Barborak also supports providing tax incentives to develop compressed natural gas vehicles as way to take advantage of the Utica shale gas boom underway in the region. He also said any increase in the state oil and gas severance tax should include a provision to ensure a portion goes to affected counties.
Barborak said he has worked to make government "more accountable and transparent" by co-sponsoring a bill to require public disclosure of tax incentives awarded to corporations and another that strengthens the laws protecting state employees who report wrongdoing.
Barborak also pointed out he was a primary sponsor of a bill that would reinstate elimination of any income requirement for senior citizens and handicapped seeking to qualify for the Homestead Exemption break on their property taxes.
"Everything we do in Columbus has a direct impact on our local communities. We have to stop passing the buck onto our schools and local governments. When we do that, we simply force them to raise taxes at the local level. I fear that many hard-working Ohioans are being taxed right out of their homes," he said, in his news release.
Newbold did not issue a news release announcing his bid.