Ohio: Republican Joins Crowd Seeking to Oust Kucinich

Posted December 17, 2007 at 6:48pm

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) has acquired yet another challenger, this time from across the political aisle. Former state Rep. Jim Trakas (R) announced he will run for Kucinich’s seat, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“I genuinely like him, but he’s had 12 years and has little to show for it,” Trakas told the paper.

Kucinich already has drawn four Democratic challengers in his campaign for his seventh term in Congress. Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman, North Olmstead Mayor Tom O’Grady, 2004 and 2006 candidate Barbara Anne Ferris and former journalist Rosemary Palmer have all announced their intentions to run against Kucinich.

So far all of the Democratic challengers have named Kucinich’s second quixotic presidential bid as at least part of their motivation for running against the staunch anti-war Congressman.

Kucinich always has won his district with at least 60 percent of the vote, except for his first campaign in 1996. The Cleveland-based district voted 58 percent for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in the 2004 presidential election and is considered a reach for Republicans.

— Shira Toeplitz

Split GOP Opposition May Benefit Schmidt

Rep. Jean Schmidt has acquired yet another Republican primary challenger in her bid for her third term in Congress. State Rep. Tom Brinkman last week joined former Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich and incumbent Schmidt in the race for the Republican nod.

According to a release from Brinkman’s campaign, the state lawmaker is best known for leading the effort to eliminate “E-Check,” a state vehicle emissions testing program.

“I promised to eliminate E-Check, and when I got to Columbus, I delivered on that promise,” Brinkman stated. “I will represent Ohioans in Washington as I have for eight years in Ohio, by pushing for common sense in government.”

On the Democratic side, physician Victoria Wulsin is making her second go at Schmidt, though she also has a primary challenge from former Indian Hills Mayor Steve Black (D).

Although the Cincinnati-area district went twice for President Bush with more than 60 percent of the vote, Schmidt defeated Wulsin in 2006 by less than 3,000 votes and won her special election in 2005 by only a couple of points.

These results, plus widely publicized gaffes on the House floor, lead both Democrats and Republicans to think she is vulnerable next year. However a third Republican in the race could split the negative vote against Schmidt and ultimately give her an advantage in the primary.

— S.T.