The most progressive member of the House has left the building.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) lost a primary election on Tuesday night to Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) by an overwhelming margin — 60 to 36 percent, with 90 percent of the precincts reporting.
The primary battle was set up by Ohio Republicans, who redrew the voting maps to consolidate Kucinich’s district with Kaptur’s, forcing the two into a contentious primary.
In his concession speech Tuesday night, Kucinich accused his rival of running a campaign that was “lacking in integrity, filled with false truths.”
Kaptur had repeatedly suggested to voters in her district that Kucinich was preparing to leave them for Washington state, where he’s tested the waters for a future congressional run. She also criticized him for pursuing lofty goals, like the impeachment of former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, while ignoring his own district’s needs.
While Kucinich isn’t officially out of Congress yet, he may have to resign ahead of the general election if he plans to move to Washington and run for office there. Election laws would require him to make that decision by April.
Kucinich has been one of the most vocal advocates of a peaceful foreign policy that Washington has seen in a generation. He began his political career as the 53rd mayor of Cleveland in the late 70s. He began to lose popularity with Democrats when he suggested that President Barack Obama should face a primary battle from the left.
A survey taken in May 2011 (PDF) by the Democratic Public Policy Polling firm found that only 12 percent of voters in Washington wanted Kucinich to run for Congress there, compared to 39 percent who said he should not.
Kaptur will go on to face Sam Wurzelbacher, best known as “Joe the Plumber” from Sen. John McCain’s failed 2008 presidential campaign, during the general election in November.
Wurzelbacher is not actually a plumber.