Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich would love to remain in Congress — even if he has to move to Washington state. But apparently, Democratic leaders there don’t want the liberal Democrat, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Keep Kucinch, Send us the Cavs,” Washington Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz said in a press release Tuesday.
Pelz made the comments following reports that Kucinich had taken an online poll of potential supporters in Washington state about whether he should move there and run for Congress. He called the poll “over the top” and declared Kucinch “not welcome in Washington state.”
Kucinich, a former Cleveland mayor who has represented the area in Congress since 1997, lost his bid for re-election in a primary contest against long-time Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur. The two were forced by a GOP-redrawn congressional map to run in the same district.
“The people of Cleveland, of his district, should be outraged that he is even considering this,” Pelz said, noting that Kucinich won’t finish serving out his current term until January of next year.
Pelz said Kucinich would have to live in Washington for the next month in order to meet the qualifying deadline for the state’s August primary.
“He might never visit Cleveland again, and yet he would be their congressman. It is just outrageous,” Pelz added.
Despite the criticism, Kucinich does have a dedicated following of Washington supporters, who share his liberal views and his activist approach to politics. If he does decide to abandon his home state for the Northwest, he would likely run in the newly created House seat that was added because of Washington’s increased population.
Still, some party leaders don’t like the prospect of Kucinich coming in and upsetting well-established Democratic candidates who are in fact real Washington residents.
“I think Dennis represents a voice for a lot of people in Congress,” said King County Democratic Chairman Steve Zemke. “It would be nice for him to continue. Maybe there are other parts of the country that could use someone.”
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