Kucinich doesn't close the door on running for Congress in Washington state

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) holds a news conference to announce he will vote for the Senate version of the health care reform on March 17, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images
(CBS News) Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who just lost his re-election bid in a Democratic primary on Tuesday, did not close the door to running for Congress in a new district -- in a new state. In an interview with Hotsheet, the Ohio congressman who twice ran for president said his loss is bringing about "new possibilities."

The 65-year-old liberal lawmaker said his loss doesn't mean the end of his career, saying "there's new possibilities that are being born at this moment."

Furthermore, when asked if he would make a run for Congress in Washington state, the congressman didn't rule it out.

"We'll see what the next few days and months bring," Kucinich said. "I haven't made any plans."

After Ohio lost two districts due to redistricting, the Cleveland-based congressman opened the door to a run in Washington before deciding to challenge fellow veteran Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur in a newly redrawn district which included parts of his base, Cleveland, and much of her previous district of Toledo. He lost by 16 percentage points in Tuesday's Ohio primary.

"Defeat is not new to me and defeat doesn't have power over me," Kucinich said today, noting that he has run 40 campaigns since 1967, losing 8 and winning 32.

Kucinich appears to be keeping all options on the table, including a career outside of elected office, saying that the idea that "the only way one can make a difference here is to be on the inside will get a strong test."

"I don't need a certificate of election to be a peace activist," he added. "I don't need a certificate of election to challenge a war."

Should he decide to run again, the Evergreen State's most appealing choices for a Kucinich run could be the first and sixth congressional districts which lack incumbents because of the retirements of Democratic Reps. Jay Inslee and Norm Dicks. The tenth district is a new district and also is wide open.

Washington State could be receptive to Kucinich's liberal politics that include a strong anti-war stance and strong support of unions.

Kucinich has just over two months to decide if he wants in in Washington. To get on the Washington ballot, he would have to set up residence, register to vote, and pay a filing fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary of a congressman (currently $174,000) by May 18, or he could wait to run in 2014.

His national name recognition from two previous presidential runs in 2008 and 2004 could either be a benefit or a hindrance. The chair of the Washington Democratic Party has vocally urged against a Kucinich bid, worrying that his fly-in candidacy would not appeal to Washingtonians and cost a Democratic seat in Congress.

But the congressman has made numerous visits to the state in the past year to the pleasure of unions and progressives who are advocating a Kucinich run.

Despite the fact that Kucinich did not deny another foray into politics, he had some harsh words for the institution he has served since 1996. He said it's beyond broken and he blamed it on the influence of money in politics.

"It's in danger of destruction," Kucinich said. "It goes beyond the question of being broken. Broken is something that can be fixed, but our democracy is in danger of being destroyed by interest groups."

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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