Demographics and Elections Commentary tagged with Boy Wonder

1/18/2024: [Ohio] Dennis Kucinich files FEC paperwork to run for Congress against Republican Max Miller [Cleveland.com]

Photo credit: news5cleveland.com

Dennis Kucinich, now 78 years old, is running for Congress again -- this time as an independent (he missed the major-party filing deadline which was a month ago). The liberal Democrat and former Boy Wonder, who was the youngest mayor in the country when he was elected to preside over the city of Cleveland in 1977, will be taking on Republican Max Miller in Ohio's 7th Congressional District.

After failing on four occasions from 1972 through 1992, Kucinich was finally elected to Congress in 1996 when he defeated moderate Republican incumbent Martin Hoke in the "White" Cleveland congressional district. Hoke's campaign was doomed when, as you may recall, he said the word "breasts" on the air when the media set him up with a microphone which he did not know was open at the time. That may not rank up there with Chappaquiddick as political scandals go, but Hoke is a Republican and his words were enough to mark him as a goner.

That started Kucinich on a House career which lasted 8 terms. He compiled an ever-so-slightly moderate voting record in Congress at first. He subsequently moved to the far left during the G.W. Bush administration, and stayed there throughout the remainder of his tenure in Congress. That tenure came to a close in 2012 when he was tossed in with fellow Democrat incumbent Marcy Kaptur in a district which spanned Lake Erie from Toledo to Cleveland. Ha ha.

That was the end -- until now -- of the Boy Wonder's political career aside from a 40-point loss to liberal Democrat Richard Cordray in the 2018 Ohio gubernatorial primary and a 3rd place finish in the Democrat primary for Cleveland Mayor in 2021.

The district in which Kucinich will be providing comic relief this year was created in 2022 as a slightly Republican-leaning district in the southern portion of the Cleveland suburbs in Cuyahoga County, south through Medina County and into Wooster. Charlie Cook's Partisan Voting Index calls it an R+7 district but R+5 might be more accurate. Under the right circumstances, the GOP could lose it.

A Kucinich candidacy is hardly the "right circumstances". Or is it?

He's likely to have little to no cash to work with, and all that his name recognition is going to get him is some laughs (voters laughing at him, that is). OK, Kucinich can't win -- but what he can try to accomplish is to trick some less-intelligent Republican voters into casting their ballots for him, just like Libertarian candidates so often do: the idea is to peel off enough GOP votes to hand the election to the Democrat.

That Democrat will be either liberal businessman Doug Bugie, who once ran for Congress over 30 years ago and finished a distant 3rd in the Democrat primary; or 2022 candidate Matthew Diemer who was outspent 10:1 by Miller and lost by 10 points. The end of the linked article is basically a campaign commercial for Bugie, who described Kucinich as one of his "political heroes". Neither Diemer nor Bugie views the Boy Wonder as a credible threat. But he may in fact be an asset.

Max Miller is a freshman and therefore somewhat vulnerable. He is a moderate/squish just like his predecessor Anthony Gonzalez, although, unlike the rabid Trump-hater Gonzalez, Miller is supposedly full-MAGA despite his moderate voting record in Congress. As noted, the 7th District is in no way rock-solid Republican. Kucinich might provide some entertainment value during the campaign, however this ploy to flip a GOP seat to the Rats is highly probable to fail in November.


U.S. House 2024 Ohio Boy Wonder 7th District Max Miller