U.S. Reps. Dennis J. Kucinich, right, and Marcy Kaptur participate in a… (Mark Duncan/Associated…)
In the other major Ohio election of Super Tuesday, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich is locked in a primary battle with fellow Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the two of them forced to run against each other due to redistricting. With about 26% of the votes counted, Kaptur led Kucinich, 52% to 44%.
Republicans in the Ohio Legislature controlled redistricting, and corralled the state’s Democrats into four districts.
The new 9th Congressional District on the Lake Erie shorefrontcontains about 47% of the Toledo electorate Kaptur has represented since 1983, as well as 13% from another district, according to an analysis by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The new lines forced Kucinich, a former Cleveland mayor who has represented that area in Congress since 1997, to campaign in less familiar territory.
With the district split between the two representatives’ old strongholds, the race has proved difficult to call.
Kucinich and Kaptur share broadly similar progressive positions on many issues, but their primary battle became increasingly bitter. When it was rumored that Kucinich was looking for an easier seat to win, possibly in Washington state, Kaptur ran radio ads comparing him to NBA star LeBron James, the Akron native who infamously ditched the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat.
Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, is competing for the Republican nomination in the district. Early returns showed him trailing Steven Kraus, a realtor and auctioneer.