Ohio Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., acknowledging that his chances are slim, said Monday that he is forming a committee to test the waters for a Democratic presidential bid.
Traficant, who beat government allegations that he took money from mobsters but still faces federal tax evasion charges, said he hoped to be a champion of common people.
"Maybe it's time that somebody without money gives it a shot," Traficant said at a news conference.
Traficant, a little-known, two-term congressman, said that if necessary he will drive to Iowa and New Hampshire, which hold the nation's first caucus and primary next year.
He said he will preserve his option to seek reelection from Ohio's depressed 17th District unless he finds himself "one of the key heavy hitters in the presidential race."