updated 8/18/2006 9:53:45 AM ET 2006-08-18T13:53:45

Rep. Bob Ney formally requested Monday that his name be removed from the November election ballot, ensuring that a special primary election will be held to replace him as the Republican candidate.

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His letter officially notifying election officials ends a week of speculation about whether he would wait until after Aug. 19, when party leaders would have been able to appoint a replacement.

Ney announced he would withdraw from the race a week ago, citing the strain of an intensifying corruption investigation that had focused for months on his dealings with lobbyists. The six-term congressman denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged.

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett said he spoke to Ney on Monday morning and they discussed the decision to have a primary instead of letting local party officials choose a new candidate.

"He told me he really thought the voters of the district should make the decision in selecting the candidate, rather than the party chairmen," Bennett said.

The Tuscarawas County Board of Elections plans to meet Tuesday morning to determine the next steps, Bennett said.

State Sen. Joy Padgett of Coshocton is Ney's and House Majority Leader John Boehner's choice to replace Ney, but there have been questions over whether she is eligible to run after losing her bid to become the GOP lieutenant governor nominee. Attorney General Jim Petro, her former running mate, offered an opinion last week that she could run.

Bennett expects Padgett and others to enter the special primary, which he expects to be held in mid-September.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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