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Kaptur in line to become top Democrat on House committee

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U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) is in line to ascend to the top Democratic spot on the powerful House Appropriations Committee following the announcement Friday from U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D., Wash.) that he plans to retire.

The news added a new element to Miss Kaptur's re-election primary campaign. She is being opposed by U.S. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland) in a newly mapped 9th District in the election that takes place Tuesday.

A member of Congress since 1983, Miss Kaptur already made a central element of her campaign that she was second in line on the Democratic side behind Mr. Dicks.

Based on historical practice, Miss Kaptur would become the ranking Democrat — and chairman if Democrats regain a majority in the House.

Kaptur campaign spokesman Matt Klempner said the news came as a surprise to Miss Kaptur when she was informed of it by Mr. Dicks Friday morning.

"They control all the spending. They can direct federal tax dollars back to the district. She would be the ranking Democratic member on that committee. It would only help increase her influence," Mr. Klempner said.

Mr. Dicks was first elected in 1976. He was noted for his ability to bring federal dollars to his district that includes Tacoma and to promote the interests of Boeing and its workers.

He said he would complete his current term and not seek re-election, having served 18 terms. Mr. Dicks said he and his wife, Suzie, "have made the decision to change gears and enjoy life at a different pace."

Also seeking the 9th District nomination is Graham Veysey, a Cleveland video production entrepreneur. The winner of the Democratic nomination will face the Republican nominee in November. Running on the Republican ballot are Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township and Huron auctioneer Steven Kraus.

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