Rulli Wins Republican Primary in Ohio’s 6th Congressional District

By SAMANTHA HENDRICKSON Associated Press/Report For America

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State Sen. Michael Rulli has won the Republican primary in Ohio’s 6th Congressional District, establishing himself as a likely new leader in an area devastated last year by a toxic train derailment.

Constituents voted not once, but twice in Tuesday’s primary: first for a nominee to run in a June special election whose winner will fill out the remainder of Bill Johnson’s current term; and in the November general election, whose winner will start a full new term in January 2025. Rulli, R-33rd, won both nominations.

In November, Rulli will face Democrat Michael Kripchak, who won the Democratic primary for the seat.

Johnson resigned before his term ended to become president of Youngstown State University on Jan. 21, prompting Gov. Mike DeWine to schedule the summer special election to fill the role until the start of the 2025 congressional term.

The heart of the district, which runs along the Ohio River in the eastern part of the state, is East Palestine, a small community that recently observed the one-year anniversary of a devastating train derailment.

The village, which sits just west of the Pennsylvania border, says it is still feeling the impact of an intentional toxic chemical release that authorities conducted to keep the derailed train cars from exploding.

Rulli defeated current state Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus of Stark County and Rick Tsai, a chiropractor from East Palestine, to secure the GOP nomination. In November, he’ll face a Democratic nominee in the red-leaning district.

The Mahoning County native and current Columbiana County resident, has served as a state senator since 2019. He’s also director of operations for Rulli Bros. Market, a grocery company founded over 100 years ago by his grandfather and great-uncle.

Rulli campaigned on mainstream conservative issues, such as securing the United States’ southern border, supporting gun rights, and opposing abortion. He has secured key endorsements from the National Rifle Association and Ohio Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization. He is also an advocate for increasing oil and gas production within Ohio instead of getting energy outside the United States.

Several East Palestine officials have endorsed Rulli’s run.

Pictured at top: State Sen. Michael Rulli, center, speaks with colleagues at the Ohio State House Senate Chambers in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 28, 2024. (AP Photo | Joe Maiorana, File)

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