While all eyes will be on the POTUS battle in Ohio tonight between Romney and Santorum, it’s worth remembering that you can get even more entertainment value for your political dollar with some of the down ticket races. You’ll want to pay particular attention to a stretch of real estate out by Lake Erie. The last round of redistricting on the eastern edge of the state has eliminated the district of long time liberal icon Dennis Kucinich and landed him in a primary fight against the incumbent, Marcy Kaptur. And while they have been long time friends and allies in the lower chamber, this one turned nasty pretty quickly.
Ohio lost two seats in the redistricting process, and Republican map-drawers in the state drew the two lawmakers into the same district, which runs along Lake Erie and spans between Toledo (Kaptur’s base) and Cleveland (Kucinich’s).
The new district includes most of Kaptur’s old territory; a last-minute change added more Toledo voters to the area, which will likely benefit her.
Kucinich, with two unsuccessful presidential runs under his belt, has positioned himself as the underdog fighting against the establishment.
You might think that these two would be like peas in a pod, with very little sunlight between them on the issues, but it turns out that’s not the case. Kaptur is apparently much closer to being a Blue Dog, holding more pro-life, pro-gun positions. (Please… spare me the hate mail. I’m not calling her an actual dog.) But they don’t have to stick to a battle over shades of gray on the questions of the day when there’s good old fashioned mud slinging to be done!
In debates, Kaptur has bashed Kucinich for taking trips to Washington state, where at one point he reportedly considered running for a House seat, and in her TV ads she has pointed to a recent Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial that said “Kucinich’s focus has wandered from northeast Ohio.” All the while, Kaptur, a longtime member of the House Appropriations Committee, has highlighted the funding she has brought back to her district…
In a Kaptur radio ad released last week, she ties Kucinich to LeBron James and Art Modell, two Ohio sports figures who left the state to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
“This Tuesday, the choice is yours. Art Modell, LeBron James, Dennis Kucinich and another moving van in Cleveland, or Ohio’s own Marcy Kaptur,” says the narrator in the ad.
There are more than a few conservatives across the country who wouldn’t exactly shed a tear if Kucinich exited the political stage. His level of liberalism can be seen from the endorsements he’s received, which include Bernie Sanders. His two runs for President – both of which were never treated as much more than a joke – brought him more national attention than a member of the House normally sees and he’s something of a cultural icon for the hard Left.
As Politico notes, there is very little solid polling available on this race, with all the attention focused on the top of the ticket. But what little exists seems to show a breakdown more along geographic lines, and that looks like a battle that Kucinich loses handily thanks to the new district lines.