Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kucinich sounds like he'll stay, run against Kaptur

Looks like the Dennis-to-Seattle buzz was a feint. Here's Dennis Kucinich's reaction to the Republicans' redistricting map:

It is an amazing turn of events that the legislature decided not to dismantle the district I represent.

I have been praying that I could continue to serve my Cleveland-area constituency and it looks like I have a chance.

That is all I could have hoped for.

That's not to say the Republicans have left Kucinich an intact district. He's been thrown into a stretched-on-the-rack monster as thin and ridiculous as the original gerrymander: a piece of Toledo and a piece of Cleveland strung together by a tiny strip of shoreline. I'd call it the Route 2 district, for the lake-hugging highway, except it's so thin that even Route 2 probably slips out of it for a piece. Take a look at it in this pdf.

But Kucinich sees something most people didn't today: the map keeps Kucinich's base together -- Cleveland's West Side and Lakewood.

The new map pits him against Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, an ally and fellow member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. It's a cruel dare -- will two friends fight for the same unnaturally created congressional seat?

Will Cleveland have to get to know Kaptur, and Toledo Kucinich, in the primary this winter or spring?

The map sets off a lot more drama. Marcia Fudge's district stretches down I-77 to Akron, peeling away enough voters who know her well that state Sen. Nina Turner might have more of a chance if she challenges her. Steve Latourette gets a bigger slice of Cuyahoga County. Betty Sutton is either redistricted out of a job or into an uphill fight against Jim Renacci, who also may end up representing a piece of Cuyahoga County. Meanwhile, the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over whether the primaries will come in March or May.

But the best storyline is surely the latest twist in Kucinich's 40-plus-year relationship with Cleveland. It's not over yet.

To read my profile of Kucinich, "The Missionary," click here. To see The Complete Kucinich, an archive of Cleveland Magazine's coverage of Kucinich's career, click here.

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