COLUMBUS, Ohio — A U.S. House hopeful says a former top Romanian spy who defected to the United States in the 1970s has endorsed him in a closely watched northeast Ohio race.
The campaign of Paul Schiffer said Monday that Ion Pacepa is backing the Republican in this year's election because he believes Democrats are turning America into a socialist dictatorship like the one he escaped.
Pacepa was deputy head of foreign intelligence under Nicolae Ceausescu when he defected in 1978. The move delivered a blow to the communist regime's Securitate secret police. He could not be reached to independently verify the endorsement.
Schiffer, of Canton, is among challengers lining up against incumbent U.S. Rep. John Boccieri, a Democrat from the Youngstown area. Former U.S. Rep. Jim Traficant, recently released from prison, is also considering a run.