Dennis J. Kucinich was elected to serve on the Cleveland City Council, 1970-1975. He was elected clerk of the Cleveland Municipal Court in 1975 and was mayor of Cleveland from 1977-1979.
After losing re-election in 1979 to Republican George Voinovich, who went on to become Ohio's governor and a U.S. senator, Kucinich was again elected to the Cleveland City Council in a special election in 1983. He served for two years, then gave up his seat to run for governor.
He withdrew from the gubernatorial race in August 1986. Kucinich failed in a run for secretary of state in 1982, in an attempt to unseat Mary Rose Oakar for the 10th Congressional District in 1988, and in his bid for the 19th Congressional District in 1992. Kucinich won election to the state Senate in 1994.
He was elected to the U.S. House in 1996 with 49 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Martin Hoke. Kucinich was re-elected in 1998, defeating Republican Joseph Slovenec with 67 percent of the vote. In 2000, he was re-elected with 75 percent of the vote, defeating Bill Smith. Kucinich was re-elected in 2002, defeating Jon A. Heben 74 percent to 24 percent.
He earned 78 percent of the vote to win the March 2, 2004, primary for the 10th District.
Kucinich ran for president in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary, although he did not win enough delegates to pose a challenge to Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who ultimately won the party's nomination. Kucinich endorsed Kerry just before the party's convention began.