Forget the Republican delegate counts. Romantics in Washington are mourning the Super Tuesday loss of Capitol Hill’s favorite lovebirds: Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich.
The redistricted Ohio Democrat lost his primary race to Rep. Marcy Kaptur— which means that the colorful liberal and his gorgeous young wife will no longer walk hand-in-hand through the halls of Congress.
Kucinich has created a stir since he landed in D.C. back in 1997: Boyish, short, outspoken and funny. He ranged from serious (opposition to the Iraq war, running for president twice) to quirky (doing an impression of Donald Duck). He teamed up with Republican Ed Gillespie to win second place in a celebrity stand-up comedy contest with a “Crossfire”-style routine and ventriloquist dummies. “Like most politicians, I’ve wanted to run for president in the worst way,” said Kucinich. “Well, you did!” answered the dummy.
But the twice-divorced pol became a media sensation in 2005 when a six-foot British redhead with a tongue ring walked into his Capitol Hill office to talk about monetary reform. It was old-fashioned, New Age love at first sight — despite a 31-year age difference — and they married three months later in front of 250 guests, including Shirley MacLaine and Sean Penn. “You know why I think I can be president?’ ” he told the Washington Post in 2007 during his second White House bid. “If I can marry this incredibly brilliant, beautiful woman, I mean, why wouldn’t I think I can be president of the United States?”
The two cut quite a figure at D.C. social events: Dennis as the leading peacenik in Congress; Elizabeth as director of public affairs for the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, where she worked on the Great Ape Protection Act to end medical research on chimpanzees.
After a brutal redistricting, Kucinich flirted with the notion of moving to Washington State and running for office there. Instead, the couple took to the campaign trail in Cleveland. “With my wife with me it’s joyous,” he told a reporter Saturday. “If I didn’t have Elizabeth with me, it would be much tougher.”
They flew back to D.C. and their home in Ward 7 Wednesday and will stay in town until January. And then? Who knows?
“I’ve lost campaigns before, and there’s always a tomorrow,” Kucinich told supporters Tuesday as his wife stood next to him. “Don’t cry any tears for me.”