Saying He Can Appeal to Trump Voters, Ex-Democratic Congressman Announces Run for Ohio Governor

by | January 18, 2018

By Marty Schladen

After a week of foreshadowing, Dennis Kucinich made it official today: He's joining the field of four Democrats already seeking the Ohio governorship.

In a noon appearance in suburban Cleveland, the former congressman, Cleveland mayor and two-time presidential candidate vowed to fight poverty and big-money interests, according to video streamed over Facebook by Cleveland.com.

Speaking of his own poverty growing up, Kucinich said, "Across the state, people are struggling."

Citing grim statistics, he said, "That so many Ohio children are living in poverty is a moral crisis of enormous dimensions."

Then, after declaring his candidacy, he said he would embark on a "Real Deal" for Ohio -- a riff on Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.

"Don't tell people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps while you're stealing their boots," he said.

Kucinich, 73, had already said he was going to run on Fox & Friends, the network of his former employer.

"I'm really charged this morning," Kucinich said in that appearance. "I'm very excited to take this big step forward on behalf of the people of Ohio."

After the Cleveland announcement, Kucinich plans events in Columbus and Dayton.

He joins a quartet of other Democrats in the fray to succeed GOP Gov. John Kasich, who is barred by term limits from seeking a third consecutive term: former Attorney General Richard Cordray; Supreme Court Justice William M. O'Neill; former state Rep. Connie Pillich of suburban Cincinnati; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of suburban Youngstown.

"I think I represent the mainstream and aspirations for jobs and health care and education and for a better environment and all kinds of economic progress in the state," Kucinich told Fox.

"But the one thing can I do, that I don't know if there is another Democrat in Ohio who could run for office and do, is that I can reach out to the people who voted for President Trump. I can show them that there are Democrats who stand solidly for economic progress, who want to protect our markets, who want to stand up for everyday Americans. So, you know, to me, that's my constituency, too. And I'm reaching out and I'm not going to leave anyone out of picture."

(c)2018 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)