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Spin Control

Feeding the Kucinich rumors

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a longtime congressman and sometime presidential candidate from Ohio, could be districted out of his House seat in the Buckeye State. That has prompted speculation that he could move elsewhere, to a simpatico Blue-state district, to run for election and remain in the House.

Washington state has been mentioned as one such state, based in part on the fact that Kucinich has made some trips here and received a warm welcome. Kucinich himself may have fanned that flame a bit this week with an appeal to donors to his re-election campaign that mention's he might not actually be running for re-election in Ohio, but somewhere else.

In a missive headlined "My Next Move?" he writes he won't quietly fade away: "Instead, we're gearing up for a long and difficult campaign in 2012 - wherever that may be...I've been approached by supporters across the country - from Washington to Maine - to explore options outside Ohio should redistricting force me out of my current district."

Coupled with the fact that Washington state will gain a congressional district, and two of the state's House members could be running for something else next year -- Democrat Jay Inslee is running for governor if Chris Gregoire isn't, and Republican Dave Reichert has been mentioned as a prospect for U.S. Senate and governor -- This has set off lots of speculating among the political cognescenti.

But remember that the cognescenti are long on speculation and short on memory. Kucinich probablly did warm welcomes in Western Washington...heck, he got a warm welcome in Spokane in 2004 when he stopped in before the caucuses. So did Howard Dean and John Kerry. We're warm and friendly people.

A better yardstick might be how did Kucinich do in the caucuses that year, when folks had to, you know, actually support him?

Not so well, if memory serves. Kucinich finished a distant third, behind Kerry and Dean, in that year's precinct caucuses, with about 8 percent of the delegates. In 2008, when Kucinich again ran for president, he was already out of the race by the time the state held its primary and caucuses. His name was on the primary ballot, but he polled less than 1 percent.

Doesn't sound like much of a foundation to build on, particularly for someone who's going to be labeled a carpetbagger the minute he announces a campaign.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.