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Kucinich Eyes a Left-Coast Address

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Rep. Dennis Kucinich might be eyeing Washington state as the home of his new constituents if his Ohio district is eliminated.

“We’re not New York. You can’t just move here. I think he would have a lot of headwinds if he were to just move in and instantly run,” said David Ammons, a spokesman for the Washington secretary of state’s office. 

Relocating to Washington state could also be a tricky move for Kucinich, given that it’s unclear where the state’s new 10th district will be and Members will not know until the end of 2011. Washington is gaining a district in reapportionment, but because a bipartisan commission draws the new Congressional map, the district’s location is anybody’s guess. 

“Obviously, up front, we prefer to have Washingtonians run for Washingtonian Congressional seats,” Smith said. “But at this point, it’s pretty much a hypothetical.”

It’s highly likely that there will be major changes in the overpopulated exurban Seattle districts represented by Rep. Dave Reichert and freshman Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler

Not surprisingly, those two Republicans seemed more welcoming to a Kucinich bid than their Democratic colleagues. If a strong Democrat such as Kucinich runs in the growing, traditionally Democratic area, it could make the Republican duo’s districts less competitive.

“I guess he’s free to run wherever he feels like he can win,” Reichert said. “I’m happy to work with any Member of Congress.”

Herrera Beutler said Kucinich reached out to her before his last visit to her district — a courtesy that she “really appreciated.” 

“It’s a free country, and constitutionally, he would have the right. It’s up to the people of Washington to determine whether or not that’s a run or it’s not a real run,” she said. “We may disagree on a lot of issues, but someone who’s willing to be upright and forthright about it you can work with.”

Kucinich’s office has been mum about other aspects of a bid in Washington, which was first reported by local media and confirmed by the Daily Caller. 

Kucinich’s travels have done most of the talking so far: He has spent a significant amount of time in the state, hosting a low-cost fundraiser at a union hall and a town hall forum at a church in Tacoma on Friday, followed by events on Bainbridge Island and a march for immigrants’ rights in Seattle over the weekend. In February, Kucinich attended a union rally and the state Democratic Party’s annual crab feed.

Kucinich also briefly stayed in the state in the 1980s with actress and friend Shirley MacLaine. It was during that time that Kucinich and MacLaine famously spotted a UFO at her home in Graham. 

Public speculation about an out-of-state bid most likely originated when the Congressman appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last month. In what was widely interpreted as a satirical segment, cast member John Oliver pressed Kucinich about where he would run for Congress if his district is eliminated.

Kucinich topped off the segment by saying he would “take his talents to Edgewater Beach in Cleveland, Ohio, and stay in Cleveland” in a scene set up to mimic NBA player LeBron James’ much-anticipated announcement last summer that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat.

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