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The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Dennis Kucinich Appears Headed to General Election in 10th District Congressional Race

Molly Kavanaugh

Despite a well-financed, aggressive opposition campaign and the distractions of a failed presidential bid, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich appears to have survived a strong primary challenge.0305 03

The 10th District Democratic congressman was facing his first threat of losing the seat he has held for 12 years. Kucinich spent thousands of dollars on television ads and agreed to debate his opponents - chief rival Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman and three other candidates.

The 61-year-old former Cleveland mayor said he was encouraged by the results. "I am also encouraged because I know of all the hard work you have all put in," he told supporters at the North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor union hall.

Cimperman hammered away at Kucinich's second long-shot presidential bid, constantly citing votes he missed in Congress while running for the White House and the financial support he received from Hollywood stars like Sean Penn.

Cimperman, 37, spent at least $500,000 trying to win the seat and gained the endorsement of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

"We took someone who ignored the district for 12 years and made him pay attention," said Cimperman, speaking from Around the Corner in Lakewood.

Cimperman, who lives outside the district, said it was too early to say whether he would consider another run for the 10th District seat. The district encompasses Cleveland's West Side and Cuyahoga County's western suburbs.

While Cimperman said he always considered the campaign a two-way race, the crowded field did not help his chances.

Rosemary Palmer, campaigning in the HopeMobile bus, entered the race after her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Edward "Augie" Schroeder, was killed in Iraq.

Barbara Ferris, president and founder of the International Women's Democracy Center, was trying for a third time to unseat Kucinich.

During the campaign, North Olmsted Mayor Thomas O'Grady cited his military career and blasted Cimperman.

Kucinich probably will face Republican Jim Trakas, a former state representative from Independence who had to give up his seat because of term limits.

After 36 years, residents of the 16th Congressional District will have a new representative in November with Republican Ralph Regula's decision to step down.

State Sen. Kirk Schuring and Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller were in a close race for the Republican nomination. Democrat John Boccieri, a state senator, was leading.

The 16th District covers all of Stark and Wayne counties and parts of Ashland and Medina counties.

Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton, who represents the 13th District, appears headed to a race against David Potter in November. Rep. Steve LaTourette, a Republican in the 14th District, will face Bill O'Neill, a former appeals court judge.

Plain Dealer reporter Michael Sangiacomo contributed to this story.

© 2008 The Plain Dealer

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