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Originally published Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 7:21 PM

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Kucinich won't run in Washington

Ending months of speculation, Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich said Wednesday that he will not run for a congressional seat in Washington state.

Seattle Times political reporter

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Ending more than a year of on-again off-again speculation, Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced Wednesday he will not run for a congressional seat in Washington state this year.

In an email, Kucinich thanked local supporters who had urged him to consider the move.

Kucinich wrote that he'd given the idea "a great deal of time and much thought" but concluded "at this time, I can best serve from outside Congress."

The seemingly far-fetched notion of the eight-term Ohio representative running for a Washington congressional seat surfaced last year when it became clear Kucinich's longtime Cleveland district was in jeopardy.

Thanks to comparatively low population growth, Ohio lost two congressional seats in the reapportionment of the U.S. House after the 2010 Census.

As a result, Kucinich's district was merged with that of fellow Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur. The two faced off in a March primary, and Kucinich lost.

Even before the primary, Kucinich had flirted with a run for office in Washington state, making repeated visits and refusing to rule out the possibility.

Kucinich, who ran for president in 2004 and 2008, had some support from local Democratic activists who appreciate his unequivocal anti-war and pro-union stands.

Some had urged Kucinich to consider seeking one of the state's open U.S. House seats, such as the 1st Congressional District north of Seattle or the newly created 10th District centered on Olympia.

But a Kucinich candidacy was opposed by state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz, who recently suggested Kucinich would be remembered as a "narcissist" if he moved here and lost.

Kucinich did not specify in his email what he'll do after finishing his term in January, but he vowed to stay politically active on issues of peace, workers' rights and economic and social justice.

Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or jbrunner@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @Jim_Brunner.

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