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Kucinich Beaten by Fellow Democrat Kaptur in Ohio Seat Race

Representative Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat from Ohio, questions Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp., at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Representative Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat from Ohio, questions Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp., at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

March 7 (Bloomberg) -- Ohio Representative Marcy Kaptur defeated her long-time House colleague Dennis Kucinich for the Democratic nomination to represent Ohio’s redrawn 9th Congressional District.

Kucinich conceded that he lost the race, the Associated Press reported early today.

With all the district’s precincts reporting, Kaptur had 56 percent of the vote to almost 40 percent for Kucinich, according to a tally by the AP.

The victory by Kaptur, 65, the longest-serving woman in the U.S. House, will end Kucinich’s career as an Ohio congressman. He was first elected in 1996, representing a district including Cleveland, a city that elected him as mayor in 1977 when he was 31. Kucinich, now also 65, sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.

Another Ohio House member, Republican Jean Schmidt, lost a four-candidate Republican primary to Brad Wenstrup in the state’s 2nd Congressional District, the AP reported. With 100 percent of precincts counted, Wenstrup had 48.9 percent of the vote to 42.8 percent for Schmidt, according to the AP tally. Schmidt, 60, was seeking the nomination to run for a fourth term in a district that stretches from the Cincinnati area east along the Ohio River.

Congressional Redistricting

The Kucinich-Kaptur race was the first of at least 10 contests this year between House members of the same party as a result of congressional redistricting following the 2010 census.

Ohio lost two congressional seats and the state’s Republican-controlled legislature redrew the 9th District. It now stretches along the shore of Lake Erie from Kaptur’s hometown of Toledo to the west side of Cleveland.

Other races between lawmakers of the same party this year will include a Democratic contest between Representatives Howard Berman, a former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, and Brad Sherman in a reconfigured California district.

In Florida, Representative John Mica, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is set to run against Representative Sandy Adams in a Republican primary to determine their party’s nomination in a redrawn district.

At the outset of her campaign against Kucinich, Kaptur said she would emphasize her status on the House Appropriations Committee as the panel’s second-most senior Democrat. That seniority gives her the ability to deliver federal assistance to the district to help “modernize our ports, our railways, our airports,” she said in a Dec. 28 interview.

Opposing Defense Spending

Kaptur also focused on Kucinich’s record of opposing defense spending. “I don’t think he’s ever voted for a defense bill in his career,” she said.

Kucinich sought to highlight his opposition to the Iraq war and U.S. involvement in the Libyan civil war that toppled Muammar Qaddafi.

Last year, Kucinich forced a House vote on his resolution declaring that President Barack Obama had violated the War Powers Resolution by failing to obtain congressional approval for U.S. support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization air strikes in Libya.

The Democratic leader in the House, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, said in a statement today that both Kaptur and Kucinich had represented their constituents “with distinction and dedication” and thanked Kucinich for “his 16 years of service to Ohio.”

‘Joe the Plumber’

Kaptur’s Republican opponent this fall will be Samuel Wurzelbacher, who gained fame as “Joe the Plumber” during the 2008 election for questioning Obama, then the Democrats’ presidential candidate, about his tax policies.

Wurzelbacher defeated real estate agent Steven Kraus for the Republican nomination, the AP reported. The district leans Democratic, with more than 75,000 voting in the party’s primary, compared with fewer than 30,000 turning out in the Republican contest.

Former Democratic Representative Mary Jo Kilroy, who had served one House term representing a Columbus-area district, lost her bid for her party’s nomination in a redrawn district, the AP said. Kilroy, elected in 2008 and defeated two years later by Republican Steve Stivers, lost the four-candidate primary to former state Representative Joyce Beatty, the AP said. With all precincts counted, Beatty had 38 percent of the vote to 35 percent for Kilroy, according to the AP tally.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Rowley in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at

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