How to retire Dennis Kucinich or Marcy Kaptur: Put both Dems in the same Ohio district
Well, it looks like the new congressional redistricting will help Ohio get rid of at least one long-term Democratic representative in next year's House elections.
According to newly drawn district lines set to go to the Ohio Legislature any day, eight-term Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland and 15-term Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo are both in the same new narrow district running along the southern Lake Erie shoreline. Both have announced their candidacies.
The Buckeye state is home to House Speaker John Boehner and is losing two of its current 18 House seats.
But it will remain a key Midwestern battleground state on the presidential level. No Republican has won the presidency in more than a century without capturing Ohio.
After losing the state's Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton in 2008 (53-45), Obama beat John McCain (52-47) in the state where the Arizonan introduced his VP running mate, Sarah Palin, to the nation. Obama has visited Ohio frequently as president, most recently this week.
However, since 2008, Republicans have fed off dissatisfaction with Obama and the state's economy to hold the old George Voinivich U.S. Senate seat (Rob Portman), and win control of the state Legislature (which controls redistricting) and the governor's office (John Kasich).
They also tipped control of the congressional delegation from 10 Democrats and eight Republicans to 13 Republicans and five Democrats.
For next year the GOP is targeting first-term incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, who easily won Mike DeWine's seat, 56-44, during the Democrats' congressional takeover of 2006. Next year, however, Democrats must defend 23 of the 33 Senate seats being contested nationally.
You could tell Kucinich was excited about the remapping. In an email fundraising appeal Wednesday, he used two exclamation marks in the first two sentences: "We have a district! The race is on!"
Without mentioning Kaptur, the House's longest-serving female Democrat, Kucinich celebrated the demise of his old Cleveland district and the slicing off of its Republican areas to buttress other GOP districts.
For her part, Kaptur said the pair shared no hard feelings over their upcoming struggle. "We are friends," she said. "This is hard for us."
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photos: Rick Osentoski / Associated Press (Kaptur); Harry Hamburg / Associated Press (Kucinich); OhioHistoryCentral.org (state flag).