House races

Kucinich won’t run in Washington state

Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich won’t run for the House in Washington state, he said Wednesday, ruling out his last feasible option to stay in Congress after being ousted from his Ohio seat in a primary.

“After careful consideration and discussions with Elizabeth and my closest friends, I have decided that, at this time, I can best serve from outside the Congress,” Kucinich said in an email to supporters.

{mosads}Kucinich had been publicly flirting with a run in Washington, where liberal supporters had started a movement to draft him, since losing a primary in March to Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio). Kucinich’s district was merged with Kaptur’s by Republican map-makers, who had to eliminate two congressional districts in Ohio after the 2010 U.S. Census.

The eight-term congressman said his commitment to workers’ rights, peace and economic and social justice didn’t depend on holding office, but rather on his continuing to speak out and organize others to fulfill the nation’s deeper potential.

“This I promise I will do with great energy and heart,” Kucinich said.

Kucinich also ruled out running in any other state — although filing deadlines and residency requirements would have made a last-minute bid implausible anyway.

“I will complete my service in the U.S. House on Jan. 2, 2013, with the same passion and devotion to duty with which I began it on Jan. 3, 1997,” he said.

The filing deadline for candidates in Washington falls on Friday. To be eligible to run in Washington, Kucinich would have had to establish residency there. He would also have had to decide whether to step down before the end of his term in Ohio, or to try to run in Washington state while simultaneously representing Ohio — a move that could have tainted his legacy had he lost a bid in Washington.

Three Democratic-leaning open seats in Washington — including the one vacated by former Rep. Jay Inslee (D), who stepped down in March to focus on his gubernatorial campaign — could have been viable options for Kucinich.

Regardless of which district he ran in, attacks dubbing him a carpetbagger and an opportunist would have been inevitable.

Kucinich had survived tough challenges before, and was all but left for dead in 1979, when he sought reelection after a ruinous term as Cleveland’s mayor and was defeated, only to climb his way back and eventually secure a seat in the House in 1996.


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