Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
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EDITORIAL

The Kucinich factor

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Dennis Kucinich ought to be taken seriously as a candidate for Ohio governor.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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The race for the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio is a puzzler. Crowded and splintered, both as to message and geography, the race is anyone’s to win and anyone’s to lose. And it just got more unpredictable.

So far we have Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of the Akron area, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of the Youngstown area, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill of Cleveland, former state Rep. Connie Pillich of Cincinnati, and former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, all scrambling for a win in the Democratic primary in May.

KEITH BURRIS: Kucinich isn’t afraid to stand alone

And now former Cleveland mayor, congressman, and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich seems to be moving toward a run. Though Ms. Pillich and Mr. Cordray are well known, it is perhaps true that Mr. Kucinich is best known of the group, though not always positively. He may also have the most solid base in two ways: He is a progressive hero, both in Ohio and the nation. He ought to be able to raise serious money from a wide and deep national following. Second, having represented a Cleveland district in the U.S. House for 16 years, he would presumably come into the race with a solid voting bloc.

Historically Cleveland Democrats do well in statewide Democratic primaries, and if Mr. Kucinich secured Mr. O’Neill, or Mr. Schiavoni, or Ms. Whaley as a running mate, he might be in a very strong position.

It may be that 2018 is a Democratic year, and none of the other candidates will be be able to get to the left of Mr. Kucinich. But there is something else, even more important: He may be the only one who can appeal to a Trump voter, partly because he may be the only candidate, among the Democrats, who respects and seeks to understand a Trump voter.

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Our nation’s politics are unusually fluid and unpredictable right now, and this is true of Ohio, as it is true of most states. We have a Republican U.S. Senate candidate suddenly out of the race and a two-term Ohio governor declining to run for the Senate because he thinks he can run for president again and knows he would lose the Senate race. And we have two Republican rivals joining forces on a gubernatorial ticket that looks unstoppable. 

But in today’s political climate, anyone is stoppable and nothing is certain. Take Mr. Kucinich seriously. None of the others has caught fire, and he just might.

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