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Blog Home Page --> House -- Ohio -- 10

Kucinich Giving Impeachment Another Try

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who introduced 35 articles of impeachment last month, is set to introduce just one article on the House floor today. According to a press release distributed by the congressman's office, Kucinich will argue for impeachment on the grounds of "Deceiving Congress with Fabricated Threats of Iraq WMDs to Fraudulently Obtain Support for an Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq."

"The breadth and depth of the President's misrepresentations do not argue for incompetency as a defense, but for deceit as an impeachable offense. We have arrived at a teachable moment in our Constitutional history. Congress must insist on accountability. We must regain our rightful role as a co-equal branch of government charged with providing a check and balance to Executive abuse of power," Kucinich wrote to House colleagues, per Politico's John Bresnahan.

Kucinich plans to read the text of the article from the terrace of the Cannon House Office Building at 2:00 p.m. today. Later in the afternoon Kucinich hopes to read the article on the House floor for consideration. The bill he introduced on June 10 was referred to committee on a 251-166 roll call vote, all but killing the measure.

-- Kyle Trygstad

Two Former Prez Candidates Get Wins

Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Ron Paul (R-TX) scored big wins last night, holding off primary challenges in their respective districts. After spending months in the presidential race, both congressmen dropped their long-shot bids and subsequently found themselves in trouble at home.

In Ohio's 10th District, Kucinich faced the toughest primary challenge of his career from Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman, a 10-year veteran of Cleveland city politics. Cimperman, however, could not overcome Kucinich's 40-year history in Cleveland, where he has built a loyal network of union support. Kucinich won 50%-35%, with three other candidates taking 14% of the vote. If every one of the other three candidates' voters had instead chosen Cimperman, Kucinich still would have won, though his margin of victory would have only been about 700 votes.

In Texas's 14th District, Paul faced just one Republican challenger, Friendswood city councilman Chris Peden, and defeated him by the wide margin of 70%-30%. Peden told Greg Bobrinskoy two weeks ago that internal polling showed him leading the incumbent. Conversely, the Paul campaign also claimed to have internal polling showing Paul leading by a large margin, which turned out to be accurate.

Both Kucinich and Paul have now faced their toughest challenges of the 2008 cycle, as both represent districts that make them safe in the general election. Ohio's 10th District gave John Kerry 58% of the vote in 2004, and Kucinich has won with at least 60% since 1998. Paul has won with at least 60% of the vote since 2000, and Bush carried his district with 67% in 2004.

--Kyle Trygstad

Kucinich Cruising In OH

Though Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich suspended his presidential campaign in order to focus more closely on his Congressional re-election bid, he may cruise to re-election, a new poll shows. The survey gives little hope to Cleveland City Councilmember Joe Cimperman, despite backing from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and the influential Cleveland Plain Dealer, as Politics Nation's Kyle Trygstad wrote last week.

The survey, conducted by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, tested 470 likely Democratic voters on 2/25 for a margin of error of +/- 4.7%. Along with Kucinich and Cimperman, Barbara Anne Ferris, who challenged Kucinich in 2004 and 2006, North Olmstead Mayor Tom O'Grady and teacher Rosemary Palmer were tested.

Two important caveats about PPP polls: Most pollsters conduct surveys over at least two days in order to control for the occasional news story or event that could skew results. PPP Also conducts polls by auto-dial, meaning respondents are not screened by live interviewers. The method, also used by Rasmussen and SurveyUSA, is gaining popularity, but its accuracy remains in some doubt in polling circles.

Primary Election Matchup
(All / Men / Wom / Wht / Blk)
Kucinich 55 / 44 / 64 / 57 / 36
Cimperman 29 / 40 / 19 / 27 / 43
Ferris 5 / 6 / 5 / 6 / --
O'Grady 4 / 5 / 3 / 3 / 14
Palmer 1 / -- / 2 / 2 / --

Cimperman has made inroads when other earlier primary challengers have not. But, says Cleveland State political scientist Joel Lieske, he begins at a serious disadvantage. "Cimperman has been running some effective negative ads about Kucinich's neglect of his congressional responsibilities and his quixotic run for the presidency," Lieske said. But "Cimperman represents a ward that contains about 21,000 people. Kucinich is the incumbent of a district that contains over 675,000 people."

The race will be decided when Cleveland voters head to the polls, along with the rest of their fellow Buckeyes, on March 4.

Kucinich Faces 3/4 Fight

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich may be facing the challenge of his career in the March 4 Democratic primary for his Cleveland-based 10th District seat. While Kucinich has had primary challenges before, Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman looks like the real deal: He's collected big endorsements and fundraising dollars in his quest to unseat the six-term incumbent.

Cimperman was endorsed -- twice, actually -- by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and he's got support from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. The newspaper wrote a glowing op-ed for Cimperman just two days after he announced his candidacy in December, and called on the other challengers to drop out to avoid a splintered vote, which would hand Kucinich another term.

In its most recent endorsement, the Plain Dealer wrote: "Voters on the West Side of Cleveland and in its western suburbs sent Kucinich to Washington in 1996. But since January 2003, much of his attention has been focused on an absolutely hopeless quest for the White House. ...The story is much the same in Washington, where Kucinich carries little influence in Congress or among the Democrats who run it."

Through the end of 2007, Cimperman had raised more than $200,000, far more than any other challenger, including Barbara Ferris, who won the Plain Dealer's backing when she challenged Kucinich in 2006. That year Ferris lacked the name recognition that Cimperman enjoys -- he's held office in Cleveland for the past decade. In 2006, Ferris garnered just 24 percent of the vote.

The Kucinich campaign is admittedly worried about the election. In a recently distributed press release, the campaign stated that Kucinich is "facing the toughest re-election campaign in nearly 12 years in the U.S. House," the Plain Dealer reported. The congressman has called on his celebrity supporters, recently campaigning around the district with actor Sean Penn, a long-time backer.

Still, Kucinich is popular in his district, and Cimperman will have to win over a large percentage of the electorate that has voted for the incumbent since he was first elected to the Cleveland City Council in 1970. Kucinich has many loyalists in the district who like his independent style, including local unions, to whom he has endeared himself because of his stance on trade issues.

"Cimperman's chances of beating Kucinich are remote, and, of course, even more remote for the others," said Alec Lamis, a political science professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. "Obviously, Kucinich has lost support as a result of his presidential bid, but not enough to defeat him."

In a 1978 recall vote, less than year after becoming the youngest mayor in Cleveland history, Kucinich came a few hundred votes from being ousted from office. The following year, he was defeated for re-election and went into something of a political exile, from which it took him years to come back. A loss to Cimperman on March 4 may be a defeat Kucinich never comes back from.

-- Kyle Trygstad

Plain Dealer Vs. Kucinich

Three months before Ohio's Congressional primaries take place, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has already made its endorsement in the 10th District Democratic race. It came just one day after news broke that the district's representative, long-shot Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, was planning to run for reelection. And for the second straight primary election, Kucinich was not the endorsee.

The paper endorsed Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman, though it remains to be seen if he can fare any better than Kucinich's 2006 opponent, Barbara Ferris, who took just 24% of the primary vote with the paper's endorsement. But unlike Ferris, Cimperman has been an elected official in Cleveland for a decade. Ferris and two others are also challenging Kucinch this year. But newspaper endorsements often come just before an election, so the timing of the Plain Dealer's editorial brings this election into a new light.

If articles over the past year describing the angst caused by Kucinich's constant traveling and presidential campaigning are any indication, it's possible voters of Cuyahoga County and Cleveland's West Side have finally had enough of their national candidate. While Kucinich and his wife have gotten national press coverage, Kucinich has been getting crushed at home.

An excerpt from the nondorsement:

"Here's the unvarnished truth: No matter how earnest he may be on the issues that obsess him, Kucinich doesn't get much done. Not even Democratic rule on Capitol Hill has changed that. When he regularly opposes his own party's leaders, when he can't even bring himself to vote for a simple resolution marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, he marginalizes himself and, far more important, he marginalizes his district."

Cimperman still has to prove his campaign mettle, but the Plain Dealer's early endorsement of a six-term incumbent's challenger makes this race just a little more interesting to watch.

-- Kyle Trygstad