A primary battle between two well-known Democratic incumbents is brewing in Ohio, thanks to a Republican-led redistricting. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced Wednesday that he would compete with Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) in the primary for the newly redrawn House district that combines both their former constituencies.
The new district stretches across northern Ohio, from Toledo (Kaptur’s former district) to Cleveland (Kucinich’s domain).
Kaptur told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the two are friends and had discussed their political plans with each other prior to each announcing their election bid Wednesday.
“We are friends,” Kaptur said. “This is hard for us.”
Kaptur is Ohio’s longest-serving member of Congress, having held her seat for 15 terms. Kucinich, who reportedly considered a run in Washington state before deciding to stay in Ohio, has served eight terms. Kucinich, however, wrote in an email seeking campaign volunteers that he was confident he could win the new district.
“As a result, about 57 percent of registered Democrats in the new district come from my old district,” he wrote. “With your help, I clearly have a good chance to be able to continue to serve the people of Ohio and to remain a strong and outspoken voice for jobs, peace, clean water and clean air, education and civil rights.”
Kucinich also served as mayor of Cleveland in the late ’70s.
Kaptur told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the GOP’s redistricting plan was a clear ploy to hurt Democrats.
“What they have done here is macabre,” she said. “I will run on my record and on the results that I have been able to achieve over the years. For the portion of the district where the people have not had me as a representative, I would like to introduce myself and talk about that record and my desire to represent the new part of the district.”
Ohio lost two seats from its House delegation as a result of the 2010 U.S. Census results.