Ohio may have capped a dramatic Super Tuesday for Republican presidential candidates, but the state also provided a telling start to the 2012 House campaign cycle as two incumbents suffered losses in primary contests and a former lawmaker failed in her bid to return to Washington.
In southern Ohio, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R) lost in a primary matchup to Brad Wenstrup, an Iraq war veteran and surgeon, following an ethics investigation into the three-term lawmaker. Elsewhere, former Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D), who lost her seat in 2010, came up short in the new 3rd Congressional District, losing to former Ohio House minority leader Joyce Beatty.
But the most notable loss went to Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), the antiwar icon and former presidential candidate, who finished behind Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) in the first member vs. member contest of the year in the state’s new 9th Congressional District. Kaptur will face off against Republican candidate Samuel Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. “Joe the Plumber,” in November.
The Kucinich loss all but removes yet another colorful congressional character from Capitol Hill. He may still move to Washington state to run in a Democratic-leaning district, but doing so may force him to resign first from his current Ohio seat. As he ponders what to do next, let’s look back at some of the more notable, memorable, infamous moments of Kucinich’s long political career:
Late 1970s: Boy Mayor: In 1977, Kucinich — just 31 years old — served as mayor of Cleveland and was dubbed the “Boy Mayor” by TIME Magazine. On his watch, Cleveland became the first major American city since the Great Depression to go bankrupt. In 1978, shortly after surviving a recall vote, Kucinich discussed his tenure on Tom Snyder’s “Tomorrow” program. He later lost reelection to future senator George Voinovich (R):
November 1996: After running unsuccessfully twice in the 1970s, Kucinich is elected to Congress from Ohio’s 10th Congressional District, winning by just 3 percentage points.
April 2007: Articles of impeachment: In the midst of his 2008 presidential campaign, Kucinich filed articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney regarding his handling of the Iraq war.
Oct. 2007: Says he saw a UFO: During the first debate of the 2008 presidential campaign cycle, Kucinich confirms that he once saw a UFO, adding that Jimmy Carter had seen one also:
December 2007: ‘The Love Song of Dennis Kucinich’: In a lengthy Washington Post article, the lawmaker gushed about his wife, Elizabeth, who was earning more positive press — and more press, for that matter — than his campaign. As The Post’s Libby Copeland wrote at the time: “The story of Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich involves: Indian nuns, a bust of Gandhi, a portrait of ‘conscious light,’ a mystical opal ring, congressional legislation, an Indian guru and the meeting of souls. Also: Dennis’s good friend for decades, Shirley MacLaine, the actress and New Age author, who played host to the couple’s second date.”
August 2008: Convention speech earns praise: Throwing his support behind the Obama-Biden ticket, Kucinich gives a critically acclaimed speech, urging America to “wake up” and support the Democratic Party:
January 2011: Sues House Cafeteria: Kucinich sued the contractor that operated the Longworth House Office Building cafeteria and a couple of its suppliers after chomping down on a stray olive pit and suffering “serious and permanent dental and oral injuries.” He settled the case just days later.
April 2011: Kucinich and Ron Paul debate War Powers Act: In a cable news producer’s dream come true, the Ohio Democrat and Texas Republican debated the merits of military action on the Fox Business Network:
May 2011: Visits Washington state to mull Congressional run: Kucinich toured the Seattle area last May and openly admitted: “My district appears to be on the block, so I am looking at options, and I am not limiting those options to Ohio.”
Did we miss any memorable moments? Share them in the comments section below.
Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost
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