After Ohio loss, Kucinich again weighs run for Congress from Washington
Kucinich had temporarily put talk of a Washington run to rest when he decided to face off in a primary at home in Ohio against a fellow Democrat whose district had merged with his. After losing, Kucinich told reporters he intended to serve out the remainder of his term until January.
Seattle Times political reporter
A month after losing an election in his home state of Ohio, Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich is again flirting with a political bid in Washington state.
Kucinich sent an email to local supporters Sunday morning asking them to participate in an online survey on whether he should run for Congress here.
In the email, Kucinich cited requests from a local group, Washington Citizens for Kucinich, which has asked him to think about a political relocation.
"I cannot approach consideration of such an unprecedented step without seeking advice from you, my friends in Washington State, whose help and generosity have enabled me to serve in the US Congress from Ohio," Kucinich said in the email.
The possibility of a Kucinich run here "horrified" state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz, who has repeatedly discouraged the idea.
"Dennis Kucinich has to decide what his legacy is going to be. Will he be remembered as a principled member of Congress or the narcissist who lost two Congressional races in two states the same year?" Pelz said.
Kucinich has only about a month until Washington's May 18 filing deadline to make up his mind. He would have to establish residency here before then, according to the Washington Secretary of State's office. Washington has three open congressional seats this year.
The notion of a Kucinich candidacy in Washington first surfaced last year and was fueled by his frequent visits to the state.
The former Cleveland mayor and longtime progressive Democrat was faced with a hard choice because his longtime district was reshaped in Republican-led redistricting.
Kucinich temporarily put the talk to rest when he decided to face off in a primary at home against fellow Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, whose district had merged with his. After losing, Kucinich told reporters he intended to serve out the remainder of his term until January.
Kucinich's supporters point out he could run here even while doing that. The U.S. Constitution merely requires that a member of Congress be "an inhabitant" of the state at the time of election.
Last week, Kucinich was back in Washington state, speaking at a forum at Highline Community College about preserving Social Security, and joining postal workers at a Seattle rally against budget cuts.
In an interview with KING-TV last week, Kucinich declined to rule out a run here, saying he hadn't made up his mind. As for his frequent visits, Kucinich said he likes Washington state and accepts invitations to speak here whenever possible.
In an email Sunday to The Seattle Times, Kucinich said he had received a letter from local supporters "urging me to run" and decided to ask others to weigh in "out of respect for the effort which they are making."
Washington could be attractive for Kucinich because of the three open congressional seats this year. But none of them seems an obvious political match for Kucinich, even apart from the outsider label he'd likely face.
Still, Kucinich's stands against U.S. militarism and his full-throated defense of unions and entitlement programs have made him a hero to many progressive Democrats — hence the effort to draft him here.
David Spring, a North Bend resident who is a co-organizer of Washington Citizens for Kucinich, said the Ohio congressman has a record of appealing to independent voters and could win any of the open congressional races this year.
As a peace activist, Spring said he was moved to action after hearing Kucinich lost his Ohio election.
"We were just dejected for a week or so and then we decided we are not going to go down without a fight," Spring said. "We just want him to stay in Congress."
Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or email@example.com. On Twitter @Jim_Brunner.