Dennis Kucinich v. Marcy Kaptur: How GOP Redistricting Will Force Out a Top Progressive Congressmember
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In addition to the regional issues that may well swing the race, there are two other demographic figures to keep in mind, according to Suddes. Both candidates have been making a play for Latino voters—Kaptur has already gotten the endorsement of local Latino leaders from Lucas County—who make up a sizable portion of the population, particularly in the Lorain area. Suddes also noted that Kucinich's work on issues around the Middle East could help him with Arab-American voters in Cleveland and Toledo as well.
In addition to the two incumbents, there's a third Democrat in the race, Cleveland video company owner Graham Veysey. But it's very likely that the winner of the race will be Kaptur or Kucinich, and that the winner of the Democratic primary will go on to beat whomever the GOP puts up in November (Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as “Joe the Plumber” of 2008 election fame, is one of the Republican candidates).
Martin expressed concern not only for the way that two Democratic candidates were thrown into a race for their political lives, but also the way the districts have polarized the state. “They're combining two deep-blue cities and the districts that surround them are just going to be deeper red,” he said. “Whomever comes out of the primary will hang on to what is a pretty deep-blue district, but overall that's not good for the state of Ohio.”
No Matter Who Wins, We Lose
It's very likely that whomever takes the primary in the 9th district will retain the seat in Congress, since as I noted above, the district was drawn to be deep blue. But whether it's Kucinich or Kaptur or even Graham Veysey, Ohio Democrats will have lost one of their champions. One or the other city will have lost a legislator who has been deeply involved with their issues for decades. If Kaptur goes, Democrats will have lost their longest-serving female legislator.
This is the lasting gift of Republican control at the state level, the lasting gift of redistricting as a partisan political act. With the stroke of a pen, as Martin said, a good progressive was taken out, and the GOP gets to sit back and eat popcorn as the Democrats fight among themselves.
Sarah Jaffe is an associate editor at AlterNet, a rabblerouser and frequent Twitterer. You can follow her at @seasonothebitch.