Perhaps to the dismay and eventual anxiety of moderate Democrats, Washington State has not heard the last of diminutive soon-to-be ex-Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D, Ohio-10).
Though Kucinich decided earlier this year against a carpet bagging run for one of Washington’s seats in the U.S. House—a choice that almost certainly added years to the life of State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz—it seems a special someone in the countryside of the 1st Congressional District race managed to catch his fancy.
Last Friday, Kucinich endorsed two-time congressional candidate Darcy Burner in the five-way scramble between Democrats trying to retain their party’s hold on former Congressman Jay Inslee’s seat. In a fundraising email to Burner’s supporters, Kucinich lauded the progressive candidate with Napoleonic (if not Freudian) vigor:
Champions stand tall for what is right without regard for the odds. I’ve fought my whole life against the odds and I know a kindred spirit when I see it. Darcy Burner has stood tall for working families, she has stood up to bullies on both sides of the aisle and she has demonstrated she will defend Social Security and Medicare with everything she has. That is a kindred spirit.
In Washington’s First District you have a choice, you can nominate someone who will toe the line or you can choose someone who will move the line. We need more Representatives who will speak out for what is right and work to make it law. We need people who will stand with the 99%, working to unrig the system the 1% have built for themselves.
The endorsement is really not surprising. Kucinich’s political record and Burner’s leadership of the Progressive Caucus Action Fund since her last failed run against Congressman Dave Reichert (R, WA-8) in 2008 make their liberal connection something much less than serendipitous.
In the American Conservative Union ratings for 2011—a 100-point scale based on voting records in the 112th Congress—Kucinich received a 9.00. Negative scores are not possible.
(Here’s a fun game our readers might try. Make your own list of who might come in below Kucinich on the ACU’s grading curve. Hint: Think deceased foreign leaders with two-syllable Russian surnames.)
Kucinich’s blessing of Burner was not the only stamp of approval she won over the weekend. The Washington State Democrats Progressive Caucus endorsed her Friday and on Saturday she received a plurality of votes in district caucus voting at the Democratic Party state convention.
If there’s anything in the groundwater that could be causing the surging lovefest for Burner, it could be her own campaign’s cartwheeling about the most recent SurveyUSA poll of the race that shows her leading the non-Republican pack on a 7-way question about candidate preference.
In the poll of 456 likely voters (margin of error +/- 4.7 percent), Burner was chosen by 19 percent of respondents and was the only Democrat to show up in double digits. Republican John Koster was chosen by 46 percent of respondents.
Not as widely ballyhooed, when pollsters went on to as 661 registered voters to choose Koster or Burner in a head-to-head match, Koster came out ahead 48-39.