Sept. 21, 2014 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.

Kucinich finds a bar stool at the Coney Island Hot Dog shop, which he visited last week after his editorial board meeting with the Toledo Blade across the street. That newspaper, as well as the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Lorain Morning Journal, backed Kaptur instead.

Kucinich doesn’t eat hot dogs — or any meat, for that matter. He’ll settle for dry toast and hot water at the counter, while his BlackBerry rests on a paper napkin. After greeting a couple of patrons, he pays his $4.27 tab and leaves.

Different Perspectives

This cycle presents a new challenge for Kucinich and Kaptur. How do you introduce yourself to a swath of new voters when your biggest selling point is your tenure in a body with a single-digit approval rating?

Ironically, Kucinich’s best political argument on the trail is that he’s a change agent despite spending the past 40 years in politics.

A month after his 21st birthday, Kucinich ran for city council and narrowly lost by a few hundred votes. Two years later, he won his first race for city council by 16 votes. In 1977, at age 31,
Kucinich became known as the “boy mayor” of Cleveland, and then he lost his bid for a second term.

Kucinich has seen tough races. He ran for Congress four times before winning his first term in 1996. After his second bid for president, Kucinich won a tough 2008 primary over a city councilman, with just more than
50 percent of the vote.

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