Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

The Boy Mayor’s Last Stand

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Rep. Dennis Kucinich greets attendees at the Truth Art Gallery in Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday. Kucinich and Rep. Marcy Kaptur are both Democrats running for Ohio’s 9th district.

“Every single time we’ve gone to Toledo, it’s snowing,” Kucinich commented.

The diminutive 65-year-old lawmaker exudes calm during much of the ride while his longtime aide, Morris Pettus, drives. He likes to listen to Willie Nelson — another one of his famous supporters — on the road. But he says his wife, Elizabeth, expanded his music tastes to include pop acts such as Rihanna, Kanye West and Lady Gaga.

“There’s something about the rebellious spirit of rock ’n’ roll that helps to fuel my relentless challenge to the status quo,” Kucinich remarked before hopping out at a desolate service plaza off the Ohio Turnpike. “You know that Katy Perry song, ‘Firework’? It’s a great song, and it’s inspirational, too.”

Many miles later, the snow withers, and there are rows of farmland, red barns, riverbeds and railroad tracks that disappear into the horizon.

Kucinich is a long way from Cleveland. He pulls into Toledo almost an hour before he’s scheduled to open his first campaign office in the city. Kucinich doesn’t like to be early to his own events, so for the better part of an hour, the car drives around as he looks for someone, anyone, to meet.

He runs out of the car to thank a man shoveling snow who has a trademark yellow “Dennis!” yard sign before shuffling back to the car. Afterward, Kucinich and Pettus bicker over how to turn off the GPS.

How well does he know Toledo?

“I’m a quick study,” the quirky Congressman claimed.

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