Tight(ish) Kucinich race to be decided on Tues

Cleveland Rocks On Tuesday, Dennis Kucinich is up for re-nomination for his seat in Congress. He’s seeing a strong challenge from Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman. But with a whole bunch of Dems on the ballot, and Kucinich with a 56% favorability rating — even before he hit the trail hard in January — it looks unlikely that Kucinich will win by less than double-digits.

Kucinich gets criticized for focusing on issues of national import, and on not bringing home enough pork:

Applegate and other local labor leaders sat Kucinich down in early January and warned him that if he did not come off the presidential trail, he would lose his congressional seat, according to a source familiar with the meeting, who requested anonymity in order to speak about the private session.

Cimperman, who faces three other Democrats who may split the anti-Kucinich vote, criticizes the congressman for not bringing home the bacon. He cites a study of congressional earmarks by the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense that shows that only one Ohio Democrat brought in less than the $8.1 million Kucinich secured for home-state projects.

I think this is a key point, and why I’m hoping Kucinich sees re-election, but also tries to find a way to push a progressive agenda, without running for president again:

“It doesn’t help us to have all 435 members of the House be compromisers and negotiators,” she said.

I’m also biased against Cimperman, for his obvious hackneyed exaggerations — for instance, taking credit for all new development in his downtown Cleveland district.

On Cimperman’s watch in the past three years alone, more than 30 technology companies have set up shop downtown, bringing with them over 1,000 jobs with downtown office space occupancy at record levels.

Additionally, Cimperman has led a housing boom in the central city. Downtown has become one of Cleveland’s growing neighborhoods, with nearly 10,000 people living there. By 2010, there will be an estimated 20,000 downtown residents. Residency in downtown is now more than 95% occupied.

There’s a variety of other reasons to accuse Cimperman of political expedience.

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