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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.

But the rules of the game have changed for Kucinich in facing Kaptur, also 65 and the dean of the Ohio delegation. While many of his constituents accepted Kucinich’s unique political personality, he’s now forced to introduce himself to a whole new crowd.

“I’ve come to realize that Congressman Kucinich has largely been confined to a portion of Cuyahoga County,” Kaptur said later that Saturday during her hair style session at Lakewood’s Crazy Mullets salon. “But he hasn’t really represented the coasts. He has a different perspective.”

In Lakewood, just west of Cleveland, the tension between the two ends of the redrawn 9th is palpable. Voters seem to resent having to favor one perspective, or geographic base, over another.

“It’s just frustrating for us that we have to choose,” said Kristine Pagsuyoin, a 45-year-old Democrat who says she is undecided for whom she will vote. “No matter how Republicans want to say we’re like Toledo, we’re not.”

Kucinich’s Many Faces

Kucinich possesses multiple political personalities: There’s the outspoken peacenik and civil liberties spokesman on cable news. Then there’s the activist star who hangs out with the likes of Shirley MacLaine, Sean Penn and Nelson.

As he goes around Toledo, stopping at local haunts such as the Summit Diner, folks recognize him from television, but not as their Congressman — at least not yet.

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