Marcy Kaptur Defeats Dennis Kucinich in Ohio

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted March 6, 2012 at 11:31pm

Updated: 12:35 a.m. | Rep. Marcy Kaptur defeated fellow Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich in a redistricting-forced primary tonight, capping the Congressional career of Cleveland’s one-time “Boy Mayor” and the House’s resident peace advocate.

Kaptur, the dean of the Ohio delegation, beat the two-time presidential candidate by a margin of 56 percent to 40 percent, according to results from the Associated Press.

Speaking by phone on MSNBC after midnight, Kaptur said she hadn’t yet spoken to Kucinich or gotten a concession from him. “We really haven’t had a chance to connect yet. But we will,” Kaptur said, adding that it had been “a very intense campaign.”

She described the challenge of having to introduce herself to 360,000 new people because of redistricting and having to campaign in two media markets: Toledo and Cleveland. “It was just a real marathon,” she said.

Kucinich gave a less-than-gracious concession speech just after midnight, accusing his opponent of running “a campaign lacking in integrity, filled with false truths.”

Kaptur’s victory completes the first Member-vs.-Member race of this cycle, which is expected to feature 13 contests between Congressional colleagues.

Republicans threw Kaptur and Kucinich into the same northern Ohio district when they redrew the Buckeye State’s Congressional map late last year. The redrawn 9th district stretches from Toledo to Cleveland, encompassing the home turf of both Members in a 120-mile-long lakeside district.

In the waning weeks of the primary, Kaptur and Kucinich sought to turn out their respective bases in Toledo and west Cleveland, plus battle for voters in the new area between their current districts, Lorain County. On Election Day, for example, Kaptur was scheduled to spend the bulk of her time in and around Lorain, which is part of Rep. Betty Sutton’s (D) district under the current map.

Kaptur raised more money in the final months of the campaign, including financial support from several Members of Congress. She is now expected to easily win a 16th term in November. She is also in the mix to become the top Democrat on the powerful Appropriations Committee in the next Congress, a shuffle that was kicked off by Washington Rep. Norm Dicks’ retirement announcement last week.

But Kucinich had outside help too. The Campaign for Primary Accountability, a super PAC, kicked in $137,000 worth of independent expenditures on his behalf during the primary, according to online fundraising records.

In an e-mail earlier today from Kucinich’s wife, Elizabeth, the campaign struck a gracious tone with supporters.

“I too am mindful and so thankful to each of you for the vital role you have played and will play today in this election,” Elizabeth Kucinich wrote. “You are by far the most incredible supporters ever and we are so very very thankful for your dedication to Dennis and his leadership in Congress.”