ByÂ ERIKA LOVLEY, Politico
But now, the die-hard liberal who launched his 30-year career on a high note as the â€œboy mayor of Clevelandâ€ has become something of a political outlaw on the hunt for a new House district reportedly as far west as Washington state and as far north as Maine.
Itâ€™s a moment brought on by a set of circumstances ranging from dreary to bizarre.
The anti-war movement has almost disappeared. Heâ€™s bracing to be redistricted out of his beloved Cleveland district. The biggest platform heâ€™s had recently is Comedy Central, where he performed a semi-professional ventriloquist act on an episode of â€œThe Daily Show.â€ To add insult to injury, he is still widely lampooned forÂ suing the House cafeteria over an olive pit that cracked his tooth and cost him dearly in medical bills.
Former aides and foes alike say heâ€™s a character whose lifelong eccentricities make his current predicament not so unlikely.
â€œDennis is not a conventional politician in any way,â€ said 2004 deputy national campaign manager Tim Carpenter, who currently heads Progressive Democrats of America. â€œWhen you use a traditional measuring stick, yes, heâ€™s been outside the norm.â€
While Kucinich, 64, has remained mum about his exact plans, thereâ€™s speculation he may try to recoup a House seat by following a population shift out West. Based on the last census, Washington is adding a district while Ohio is losing two. In an email to supporters, Kucinich said heâ€™s been approached by supporters from â€œWashington to Maine.â€
While calling stories about his potential move to Washington mere â€œspeculation,â€ Kucinich didnâ€™t deny that invitations have picked up since news of the redistricting broke.
Less than two weeks ago, he spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 800 in Washington. He said heâ€™s received a steady stream of invitations from labor, environmental, political and other groups.
â€œThe thing I wonâ€™t do is wake up the day after the Ohio map is revealed and suddenly be in shock and say, â€˜Oh what do I do now.â€™ I donâ€™t live that way. I donâ€™t see myself as a victim. I reject that,â€ he said. â€œThis is nothing to cry about.â€
And if he doesnâ€™t move to a new state, the redistricted map could very well pit him against a fellow Ohio Democrat â€” a race his friends say heâ€™d be too noble to jump into.
â€œAs someone who spent a lifetime challenging corrupt utilities and insurance companies, Iâ€™m not exactly the Republicansâ€™ favoriteÂ Democrat,â€ he said, ruefully. â€œIâ€™m aware of that reality, but Iâ€™m not complaining. Thereâ€™s a specific effort to eliminate my presence in the U.S. Congress.â€
To read more, visit:Â http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55020.html#ixzz1MWDHb5vB
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