Go to the politics section for more local and national politics coverage.
Dennis Kucinich polls local supporters: Should he run for Congress in Washington?
After seeming to rule out the idea, Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich is once again flirting with a political bid in Washington state.
Kucinich sent an email to local supporters Sunday asking them to participate in an online survey on whether he should run for Congress here.
In his email, Kucinich cited request from a local group, Washington Citizens for Kucinich, asking him to think about a political relocation:
"I cannot approach consideration of such an unprecedented step without seeking advice from you, my friends in Washington State, whose help and generosity have enabled me to serve in the US Congress from Ohio.
I would appreciate your participation in this survey of my Washington State supporters. Please click on this link, enter your email address and zip code, and then vote. I would be grateful for your comments too and shall be reading them on Wednesday.
Your participation and your guidance is critical to my decision."
That drew a horrified reaction from state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz, who has repeatedly discouraged Kucinich from running here.
"Dennis Kucinich has to decide what his legacy is going to be. Will he be remembered as a principled member of Congress or the narcissist who lost two Congressional races in two states the same year?" Pelz said Sunday afternoon.
Kucinich has only about a month until the May 18 filing deadline if he decides to run here this year.
Kucinich even could run for office here even while still serving out the remainder of his current term in Ohio, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has noted. The U.S. Constitution simply says a member of Congress, "when elected," must be a resident of the state.
The notion that Kucinich might run for Congress here was fueled last year by his frequent visits. The former Cleveland mayor and longtime progressive Democrat was faced with a hard choice because his longtime district was reshaped in Republican-led redistricting.
Kucinich eventually decided to face off in a primary at home against fellow Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. After losing, Kucinich told reporters he intended to serve out the remainder of his term until January.
But last week, Kucinich was back in Washington state again, speaking at a forum about preserving Social Security and joining postal workers at a rally against budget cuts.
KING TV's Robert Mak caught up with Kucinich and asked him whether he'd put the issue to rest once and for all. Kucinich refused. "I haven't made my mind up about any of that," he said.
Washington could be attractive for Kucinich because of three open congressional seats this year. But none of them seem an obvious political match for Kucinich, even apart from the carpetbagger label he'd face.
Still, Kucinich's stands against U.S. militarism and his full-throated defense of unions and entitlement programs have made him a hero to many progressive Democrats -- hence the effort to draft him here.
Don Smith, a Kucinich supporter in Bellevue, has blogged about the potential Kucinich run.
Smith said he believes Kucinich could make a stronger candidate than any of the Democrats running in the 1st Congressional District.
Kucinich would be controversial, Smith said, but "he would certainly generate a lot of publicity and bring out a lot of excitement."
Even if he passes up a congressional bid from Washington this year, Kucinich's recent appeances and statements leave open another possibility.
He could finish his current term and then move across the country to build up a campaign for 2014 or later -- perhaps in a district that more closely matches his ideology.
After all, someday, Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott will retire.
Covers the Eastside.
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.
Covers local government.
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.
Covers Seattle City Hall.
Covers King County and urban affairs.