A former top Romanian spy who defected to the United States in the 1970s has issued a politically charged endorsement in the closely watched race for Ohio's 16th congressional district.
Ion Pacepa said Monday that he is backing Republican Paul Schiffer in the 2010 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 dictator Nicolae Ceausescu when he defected in 1978. The move delivered a blow to the communist regime's Securitate secret police.
Schiffer is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. John Boccieri, a Democrat. Schiffer is a former Marine who also ran in 2008. Boccieri is an Air Force pilot and Iraqi war veteran.