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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.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich may be shopping for a new district — and a new state — but he shouldn’t expect his colleagues to embrace the quirky plan if it comes to fruition. 

The reaction within the delegation from Washington state, where the Ohio Democrat appears to be eyeing moving if his district gets eliminated in redistricting, has been tepid at best. Furthermore, moving out West might be more complicated than Kucinich has considered because of the state’s redistricting process.

“That’s a long, long way from Ohio to Washington state,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said. “I would be skeptical about whether or not that would be well-received by the bulk of the people in the state of Washington, but I guess we’ll wait and see.”

Kucinich has been traveling through the Evergreen State this year and his office has done little to tamp down speculation that he is looking to run there. 

When Kucinich was questioned Tuesday about whether he is looking for a Washington address, he stared directly at the reporter and quickly walked onto the House floor for a vote without responding. 

Earlier this week, Kucinich spokesman Nathan White boasted in a statement that the Congressman has “received request[s] from people in twenty states, including Washington State, encouraging him to move and run in their area.”

“As he has repeatedly said, he fully intends to remain in Congress; he just doesn’t know in what district he will run,” White said.

Democrats in the Washington delegation, however, remain skeptical that Kucinich can pull off the move. Rep. Jim McDermott (D) chuckled when asked about a Kucinich candidacy, then quipped: “I don’t know. I came from Chicago.”

Other members of the delegation punted, saying it was up to the voters to decide whether they like Kucinich. 

“That’s an interesting idea,” remarked Rep. Jay Inslee (D), who is considering a gubernatorial bid in 2012. “I would say that our views are almost totally irrelevant. ... It would be the voters’ views that would be relevant in this issue.”

Kucinich might find it challenging to change his residency, even though he does not have to live in his next potential House district. 

In order to run for Congress in the state, Kucinich must be a registered Washington voter before the June 2012 filing deadline. But to register to vote there, Kucinich must prove residency for at least 30 days — including a paper trail that shows he has established a domicile in the state. Local election officials cautioned that Kucinich would have to follow the law perfectly or be susceptible to a lawsuit.

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