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Traficant Leaves Democratic Party, Mulls Run As An Independent

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A former Ohio congressman who served seven years in prison for corruption says he's leaving the Democratic Party and considering a run for office as an independent.

James Traficant (TRAF'-eh-kehnt) made the announcement Saturday on his talk show on WTAM-AM in Cleveland. He did not specify which seat he was eyeing for a run.

Traficant was elected to nine terms as a Democrat from Youngstown before serving time for racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice and tax evasion. He was released in September.

He called it a "painful decision" to leave the Democratic Party but says he feels the leadership of the party is headed in the wrong direction. He says he's not referring to President Barack Obama, but to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.