FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Monday, March 10, 2008
CLEVELAND, OH - In a hotly contested five-way race to retain his Congressional seat in the Ohio Democratic primary last week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich faced serious challenges from Republican media, Republican contributors, Republican advisors, and, as it turns out, Republican voters who crossed over on election day.
According to figures released yesterday, about 10,000 registered Republicans in Kucinich's 10th Congressional District switched their party affiliation to vote in the Democratic primary. That cross-over strategy, led nationally by Rush Limbaugh, was heavily promoted by the local Clear Channel radio station that was bolstering a "Dump Dennis" campaign. The anti-Kucinich campaign was also assisted by The Plain Dealer newspaper, which editorially endorsed one of his challengers four separate times; by hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Republican corporate interests; and by support from Republican advisors.
Despite the opposition, Kucinich won more than 50% of the vote in the five-way contest, outpacing the heavily financed and supported second-place finisher by more than 20,000 votes. Of the nearly 136,000 votes cast, about 10,000 were cast by Republicans.
Kucinich said the extent of the Republican cross-over vote was "shocking" and reflected "a concerted effort by Republican interests to interfere in the Democratic primary and knock me out of Congress." He added, "They obviously don't like my opposition to the war, trade, and tax policies of the Bush/Cheney Administration, or my calls for impeachment hearings. But to go to these lengths is absolutely unprecedented."
Kucinich, widely regarded as the most progressive member of the U.S. House, survived the effort by relying on strong and solid support from organized labor and from his traditional grassroots political base, plus additional financial support from a national constituency attracted to his Presidential campaign, which ended in January.
But, political observers and media analysts are predicting that Kucinich remains vulnerable to his Republican opponent in November - a former state representative and Republican Party chief who will draw the same kind of financial and institutional support that Kucinich's chief Democratic rival relied on in the primary election. Although the Congressional District has been reliably Democratic throughout Kucinich's six terms, the anti-Kucinich sentiment among Republican interests is likely to fuel a massive outpouring of support for his opponent in the general election campaign.
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