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Published: Sunday, 2/26/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Kucinich aide decries Kaptur residency claim

Home of congressional opponent is in 9th District, campaign says

BY JIM SIELICKI
BLADE STAFF WRITER

An aide to U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland) Saturday challenged U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) over her statement during a campaign debate Friday that she is the only one of three Democratic Party candidates for the 9th House District who actually lives in the district.

Kucinich spokesman Andy Juniewicz on Saturday called Miss Kaptur's statement during the previous evening's debate at Woodward High School outlandish, saying she "knows full well that Congressman Dennis Kucinich lives in the 9th Congressional District."

March primary election: precinct, ballot information

"Why she would make such an outlandish statement is beyond me," Mr. Juniewicz said in an email.

Spokesman Steve Fought said Miss Kaptur stands by her statement, which in one respect is accurate: Mr. Kucinich's residence is not in the 9th District as it currently exists.

But his home is within the district's boundaries as it has been redrawn by the Ohio General Assembly in response to Ohio's census-driven loss of two House seats.

"What she was saying is, ‘I'm from Toledo. I know Toledo,'?" Mr. Fought said.

"She was not saying that Graham Veysey or Dennis Kucinich were not eligible to run."

Mr. Fought said residents who now live in the 10th House District but will become part of the redrawn 9th may vote in the March 6 primary in which Miss Kaptur, Mr. Kucinich, and Mr. Veysey are competing for the Democratic Party nomination.

However, neither Miss Kaptur nor Mr. Kucinich may conduct official congressional business, such as holding hearings, outside of their respective districts, Mr. Fought said.

"Her statement is true on its face," Mr. Fought said.

"Graham Veysey said he would move into the district if he's elected, and Kucinich threatened to move out of the 10th District if its boundaries were not to his liking and move to Washington."

Mr. Fought said the redrawn boundaries become official once the new 113th Congress is sworn in in January, 2013, a statement that Kucinich spokesman Juniewicz disputed.

"That is totally contrived and fraudulent representation," Mr. Juniewicz said. "That statement is totally fraudulent. The 9th District that voters are voting in now currently exists, from Toledo to Cleveland."

Ohio's delegates to the U.S. House need not reside in the district they represent, although they must live in the state.

Mr. Kucinich, a former Cleveland mayor, has represented Ohio's 10th House District since 1997. Miss Kaptur has held the 9th District seat since 1993.

The two incumbents have become rivals, thanks to the redistricting crafted by the Republican-dominated General Assembly, in which the new 9th District links the Democratic strongholds of Toledo and Cleveland with a strip of territory along the Lake Erie coast.

Mr. Veysey, a Cleveland resident and businessman, has pledged to move into the 9th District if elected, a statement his spokesman, Paul Vogelsang, reiterated Saturday.

However Mr. Veysey, who lives in a part of the 10th Congressional District that will not switch to the 9th, will not be able to vote for himself in the March 6 primary.

The Democratic primary winner will face either Republican Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher or his GOP rival, Steven Kraus.

Contact Jim Sielicki at: jsielicki@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.



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