It looks like Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) will not have to head West in order to keep a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Kucinich, a former presidential candidate and fiercely liberal lawmaker, issued a celebratory press release on Tuesday declaring that Ohio's new Congressional map gives him the chance to keep his seat in the Cleveland area, after months of speculation that it could be lost due to redistricting.
I have been praying that I could continue to serve my Cleveland-area constituency and it looks like I have a chance, Kucinich said. This is all I could have hoped for.
Ohio is set to lose two Congressional seats due to considerable population losses, leading Kucinich to fear the Republican General Assembly would completely remove the state's 10th Congressional district. Kucinich has served in the U.S. House since 1996.
Kucinich served as the Mayor of Cleveland from 1977 to 1979 before being elected to the Ohio State Senate in the early 1990s.
Seeking to retain a presence in Congress, Kucinich had reportedly tinkered with the idea of running in Seattle or another liberal area in Washington, since the state is gaining a House seat.
It is an amazing turn of events that the legislature decided not to dismantle the district I represent, he said.
However, Republicans in the Ohio statehouse have drawn new congressional districts that remove part of Cuyahoga County from Kucinich's district. Plus, as his district is being merged with that of Toledo-based Rep. Marcy Kaptur, he may have to run against his fellow Democrat to keep his seat in 2012.
The new map was crafted in close consultation with House Speaker John Boehner, according to Politico, which reports the redistricting seems to favor Republican lawmakers. For instance, the changes have pushed Freshman Republicans Steve Chabot and Steven Stivers from Democratic-leaning districts to GOP-friendly areas, a move that may increase their chances for reelection.
Meanwhile, the change has drawn Rep. Betty Sutton, a Democrat, into a Republican-leaning district in Northeast Ohio that will force her to compete with Republican Rep. Jim Renacci.