Kucinich opposing veteran Democrat in Ohio primary
TOLEDO — Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich has settled on a primary run against fellow Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, setting up a race between two U.S. House veterans.
Kucinich filed the paperwork to run Wednesday. He had spent the last few weeks mulling whether to seek another congressional seat closer to his home in Cleveland after the Ohio Legislature approved a new congressional district map.
The new map gave Kaptur a bigger chunk of her current district in the Toledo area, leading to speculation that Kucinich might consider running against Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Cleveland Democrat. He also had toyed this summer with the idea of running in Washington state.
Kucinich, an eight-term congressman, announced in September that he would run against Kaptur after Republicans who controlled the redistricting process put them in a district that hugs the Lake Erie shoreline from Cleveland to Toledo.
But Ohio lawmakers threw out that map and approved new congressional boundaries two weeks ago after Democrats complained that their first attempt to redraw the districts was too partisan and split too many counties in half.
That led Kucinich to rethink his strategy.
While the first map seemed to favor Kucinich because it included more of his base in suburban Cleveland, the final version appeared to shift the advantage to Kaptur because it added about 90,000 voters in the Toledo area.
The winner of the March primary will be heavily favored to win the seat in November.
Kaptur and Kucinich, both 65, have had strong support from union leaders and blue-collar workers over the years. They call themselves friends of each other.
Kucinich, who ran for president in 2004 and 2008, has a national following among progressives. He is known for his offbeat, brash style since becoming Cleveland’s “boy mayor” at age 31.
Kaptur is the longest-serving Democratic woman in the House. She was first elected to Congress in 1982. Labor leaders urged her to run for governor in 2006, but she decided to stay in Congress.