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Dennis Kucinich announces a new run for Congress

Dennis Kucinich talks into a microphone beside a banner reading, "For America: Dennis" with a red, white and blue striped/starred eagle graphic.
Sue Ogrocki
Former Ohio congressman and two-time Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich announces his Independent candidacy for Congress in Ohio's 7th Congressional District, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in Independence, Ohio.

Former Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich formally announced he is running for congress as an independent at a Wednesday press conference in Independence.

Kucinich is running to unseat Republican Rep. Max Miller, who currently represents Ohio’s 7th Congressional District, which stretches from Cleveland’s southwest suburbs to Wooster. Miller is currently in his first term in congress and is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

“The 7th district is familiar territory,” Kucinich said during the press conference. “I represented over 20 Cuyahoga County communities in that district for 16 years, constituting approximately 45% of the present district.”

Kucinich represented Ohio’s 10th Congressional District from 1997 to 2013 as a Democrat. That district, which has since been redrawn, covered Northeast Ohio from North Olmstead to Garfield Heights. Kucinich lost his seat in a Democratic primary to fellow progressive Marcy Kaptur.

Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich was photographed during a press conference on Dec. 19, 1978.
Bill Nehez
The Cleveland Memory Project
Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich was photographed during a press conference on Dec. 19, 1978.

The 7th is a solidly Republican district. But Kucinich points to his deep name recognition in Northeast Ohio. He was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1977, but his term was marked by controversy. He narrowly survived a recall election in 1978, and Cleveland became the first major city to default on debt since the Great Depression while he was in office. He also ran for president twice as a Democrat in 2004 and 2008.

During his announcement Wednesday, Kucinich said his status as an independent will help him span the partisan divide.

“It's that experience which I think people should vote for right now. With things falling apart nationally, with the divisions that are taking place, people want a steady hand,” he said. “They want somebody who can get in there and use the experience for them because my experience is representing the people, not of representing interest groups.”

Being an independent will also make his vote pivotal in Congress, Kucinich added.

“The 7th District of Ohio will become one of the most important districts, and members of both parties will be well aware of the needs and priorities of my constituents and of the people of Northern Ohio,” he said.

Doug Bugie, a Bay Village native and entrepreneur, and Matthew Diemer, who owns a small production company in Bay Village, are competing for the Democratic nomination in the 7th Congressional District. Rep.

Updated: March 7, 2024 at 5:05 PM EST
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Doug Bugie's last name.
Jenna Bal was a news intern at Ideastream Public Media from January 2023 to May 2024.