Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kucinich confirms he may run in Washington -- or Maine

Leave it to Dennis Kucinich to try something so eccentric, so nearly unprecedented, so ballsy and egotistical that you can't decide whether to admire the little guy or rage at him.

He's just sent out an e-mail confirming that he may move to another state to run for Congress.

Dropping hints about what he'll do if Ohio Republicans carve up his district, he not only name-drops Washington State, he ups the ante by adding Maine -- if only to give the idea coast-to-coast sweep.

It's not terribly different from what his spokesman said last week, but for him to announce he's bouncing the idea around is still a big deal.

Last week I said I didn't buy the idea that Dennis would embark on a nationwide hunt for a new district. I said he might be stoking the rumor for the sake of raising money and making himself more of a national figure. Sure enough, he drops the big tease in a fundraising letter. He's even opened a new e-mail address,, so his nationwide supporters can plead with him to run in their town.

I guess it's also possible that this is Kucinich's version of Sherrod Brown's feint ten years ago. Brown threatened to run against Bob Taft for governor if Republicans carved up his congressional seat. The threat worked; Taft gave the order to leave Sherrod alone.

I'm not sure it'd work as well for Dennis. Even if Republicans in Olympia or Kennebunkport beseech their Columbus brethren to spare them the pain of dealing with Dennis, John Kasich and Co. might zero Dennis out anyway, just to get him out of town.

I'll still believe Kucinich is running outside Ohio when I see it. And I think he's playing a high-stakes game here. If he stays and runs for reelection in Cleveland, Rob Frost or whoever else campaign against him will surely use this flirtation as a stinging one-liner to paint him as spacey, arrogant, out of touch. "Dennis doesn't care about you! He's run for president -- twice -- and when things got tough, he talked about running away to Seattle!" But you've got to give the guy credit for knowing how to surprise and provoke friends and enemies alike.

Here's the text of his new e-mail. Bolds are mine.

My Next Move?

You may have heard some rumors over the past week, so I wanted to set the record straight with you: While I'm committed to representing the 10th District of Ohio, I will not rule out a run elsewhere should my district be eliminated or radically altered through redistricting.

From Afghanistan to workers rights, Libya to climate change, there's simply too much at stake for our voice to be eliminated. We cannot let a group of downstate politicians silence me and our movement - they would like nothing more than to stop hearing our calls for peace over violence and the people's interests over corporate handouts.

So, no, we're not going to quietly fade away, and let the corporate interests and status quo have its way. Instead, we're gearing up for a long and difficult campaign in 2012 - wherever that may be. I know it's worth it, and I know we can prevail. But I'll need your help. Can you donate $25, $50, or $100 dollars today?

I've been approached by supporters across the country - from Washington to Maine - to explore options outside Ohio should redistricting force me out of my current district. It has been truly humbling to see the support that has been expressed for me to continue my work in Congress. Right now, my efforts and focus remain on representing my constituents in the 10th District and fighting for peace and justice, but as we plan for our movement's future, I will consider all of these ideas to keep our voice in Congress.

And I say the same to you right now. Do you have a comment or idea I should consider? Is there a option you would like me to explore? If so, let me know by clicking here:

Thanks for being with me.

With respect,
Dennis Kucinich

To read "The Missionary," my profile of Kucinich, click here.


Anonymous said...

Bill Brock!

Erick Trickey said...

I did say nearly unprecedented. Except for Bill Brock, the senator from Tennessee who ran for the U.S. Senate from Maryland years later, but lost in the general election.
Bill Brock's post-Senate career, on Wikipedia