Kucinich packs bags for Washington state

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich is traveling to Washington state next month, making a trip destined to stoke speculation that the eight-term congressman is again considering a run for Congress in that state.

Kucinich will speak about Social Security at Highline Community College on April 12, according to Washington Citizens for Kucinich. “We need Dennis as much as he needs us!” said a brief statement accompanying the announcement of his visit.

Earlier this month, Kucinich lost the Democratic primary in a member-on-member contest against fellow Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur, leaving him with few options to remain in Congress.

Last May, The Daily Caller first reported that Kucinich was considering a run in Washington state. At that time, redistricting was underway — with Ohio redrawing its maps after losing two seats in Congress and Washington adding one.

Kucinich’s seat then appeared poised for dissolution, and he made frequent visits to Washington. “He fully intends to remain in Congress; he just doesn’t know in what district he will run,” his spokesman said at the time. When his district was instead combined with Kaptur’s, Kucinich opted to remain in Ohio.

Kucinich’s flirtation with a move to Washington proved a liability in the primary, with Kaptur comparing him unfavorably to other famous Clevelanders who ditched the economically depressed area — including former Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James. He lost the March 6 primary, with 41 percent of the vote to Kaptur’s 55 percent.

Washington state’s lax residency requirements for seeking office make a Kucinich candidacy plausible, despite the challenge presented by Democrats already coalescing around candidates in the state’s open congressional districts.

Brian Zylstra of the Washington Secretary of State’s office explained to TheDC last year that “there is no time period component to the residency requirement with respect to being eligible for the office.”

“Regarding Kucinich,” said Zylstra, “he could move to Washington anytime prior to candidate filing in May 2012 and on the first day of candidate filing (3rd week of May, 2012) he could register to vote and file a declaration of candidacy.”

Zylstra also noted that “candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives need only live in the state” and “not the Congressional District for which he or she is running,” widening Kucinich’s options.

Kucinich spokesman Nathan White did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Kucinich’s forthcoming visit to Washington. A report by David Catanese of Politico earlier this month noted that the anti-war congressman’s team has been tight-lipped about his future plans.

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