Freshman Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, may get his first big test as a candidate earlier than expected.
State Rep. Matt Lynch has pulled paperwork to challenge to Joyce in the primary in the 14th District, according to a local report that was confirmed separately by a GOP operative.
Lynch, who did not immediately return request for comment, has until Feb. 5 to file the necessary paperwork to run. But if he enters the race, the May 6 primary will be the first competitive contest Joyce will face in the state’s most targeted seat in 2014 .
A few months before the 2012 elections, local party leaders picked Joyce as their nominee after GOP Rep. Steven C. LaTourette unexpectedly announced his retirement several months after the primary. As a result, Joyce has never run in a primary for the House seat.
Ohio’s 14th District is one of the state’s most competitive seats. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won here by a 3-point margin in 2012.
Attorney Michael Wager, who has ties to Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is the most prominent Democrat who's seeking the nomination.
Whether or not Joyce faces a primary opponent, he is financially ready for a challenge. Joyce reported $1.14 million cash on hand at the end of last year.
Wager has yet to file his end-of-year report, which is due Jan. 31. But as of Sept. 30, Wager had $327,000 in the bank.
Ohio’s 14th District is rated a Lean Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.