Come January, Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s career in Congress will end.
Ever since losing a member-vs-member primary against Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the Ohio Democrat has been considering a bid in Washington state. Today, he announced that he would step down instead.
“After careful consideration and discussions with Elizabeth and my closest friends, I have decided that, at this time, I can best serve from outside the Congress,” Kucinich wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “My commitments to peace, to workers' rights and to social and economic justice are constant and are not dependent upon holding an office.”
He added that “this is just the beginning,” and encouraged supporters to sign up for updates from Kucinich.us.
The liberal lawmaker had supporters in Washington who encouraged him to move there and run for one of three open, Democratic-leaning House seats. His 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns attracted a national network of anti-war activists loathe to see him leave the Hill.
But Washington’s Democratic Party was not so welcoming. State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz told the Seattle Times that if Kucinich ran there, he would go down in history as “the narcissist who lost two Congressional races in two states the same year.” A columnist for the paper called him a “carpetbagger.”
Kucinich had to make his decision this week; the filing deadline in Washington was this Friday.
The full statement:
I would like to thank you for your support, and thank the tens of thousands of concerned Citizens for Kucinich who in the past few months have written, emailed and called to discuss my running for Congress in Washington State.
At the end of this term I will have served sixteen years in the House of Representatives, leading the way for peace, to bring an end to the wars, for workers' rights, for health care for all, for monetary policy reform and to end the corrupting influence which money has on our political decision-making process. My staff and I have worked to deliver a level of constituent service to the people of Cleveland, which most agree is unmatched for results. As testimony to our efforts in the Cleveland area I received about 75% of the vote from my present constituents who were included in the newly redistricted area in which I ran in March.
Because of my love of public service, I have given a great deal of time and much thought to the advice and encouragement I have received from so many people of good will in Washington State. I certainly want to continue to be of service to our country and to the working men and women who have built it.
After careful consideration and discussions with Elizabeth and my closest friends, I have decided that, at this time, I can best serve from outside the Congress. My commitments to peace, to workers' rights and to social and economic justice are constant and are not dependent upon holding an office. They are dependent upon my continuing to stand up, to speak out, to organize, to motivate and to inspire our nation as to its deeper potential. This I promise I will do with great energy and heart.
I will complete my service in the U.S. House on January 2, 2013, with the same passion and devotion to duty with which I began it on January 3, 1997. And when I do, I shall think of you and all those who have given me encouragement to continue to be of service, and I will smile, knowing that we shall meet again in our celebration of the potential of citizen activists to change the world.
Please continue to encourage your friends and family to sign up at www.Kucinich. we will need to continue to work together for change outside Congress, as we have worked for it from within. This is just the beginning!