Traficant says he will run as independent

Former Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio) will run for Congress again as an independent.

Traficant, who was convicted on bribery and racketeering charges in 2002, did not say which district he would run in but confirmed to CNN’s Kyra Philips he’s making a return to politics.

"I will be running for Congress,” Traficant said on CNN Tuesday morning, “as an independent. I have been a Democrat all my life, and, quite frankly, I am disgusted with both parties.”

Traficant was released from federal prison in September after a seven-year sentence. He was expelled from the House in July 2002.

The former eight-term congressman used to represent Ohio’s 17th district – a seat now held by Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan. There have been rumblings Traficant is also considering running in the 6th district, which is held by Democratic Rep. Charlie Wilson.

In 2002, Traficant ran for his old seat from prison as an independent and lost with 15 percent of the vote.

This isn’t the first time Traficant has distanced himself from the Democratic Party. In 2001, he voted for Republican Dennis Hastert for speaker.

In the CNN interview, Traficant reiterated his innocence.

“I could have had a pardon my first year but I wouldn’t take it because I wouldn’t admit to something I didn’t do,” he said. “When they can’t beat you at the polls, you end up in prison sometimes.”

Traficant has until May 3rd to file as an independent candidate. He missed the deadline to file as a candidate for either party. He is currently a talk radio host for WTAM, a Cleveland station.