As predicted by political observers in The Blade (http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2012/01/08/Tough-fight-awaits-Kaptur-Kucinich.html), U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich has turned to Hollywood to help finance his campaign for the 9th District.
Supporters Stanley and Betty Sheinbaum, along with soap opera star Deidre Hall, author Gore Vidal, and left-wing activist Jodie Evans were among the sponsors of a “Re-election Reception” for Mr. Kucinich at the Sheinbaum residence in Los Angeles Saturday.
Mr. Sheinbaum is chairman of the ACLU of Southern California, publishes a quarterly journal, and contributes to liberal causes.
Ticket prices ranged from a modest $100 to $2,500 to be a co-sponsor.
Mr. Kucinich, of West Cleveland, has been matched in a newly drawn — and heavily Democratic — 9th Congressional District with U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo. Both are seeking the Democratic nomination on March 6, along with Cleveland entrepreneur Grahan Veysey, to run in the general election.
The race is being hotly contested because there are more registered Democrats in the Cuyahoga County portion of the district than there are in the other four counties put together.
The Republicans will choose between Steven Kraus of Huron and Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township as their nominee.
The invitation to the Kucinich fund-raiser, which was emailed to potential supporters by Mr. Kucinich’s wife, Elizabeth Kucinich, said he has been “outraised 9-1” in the March 6 primary election campaign.
Steve Fought, who has taken a leave from his position as spokesman in Miss Kaptur’s congressional office to manage her re-election campaign, said, “We knew he was going to go out to Hollywood and raise a bunch of money.”
He rejected Elizabeth Kucinich’s claim that Mr. Kucinich was being outraised 9-1, at least if she was referring to Miss Kaptur.
“Candidates often paint the worst-case scenario when they’re trying to raise money. I wish we had nine times as much money as he did, especially when he’s getting all this money from movie stars,” Mr. Fought said.
The most recent reports on file with the Federal Elections Commission date to Sept. 30, and they show at that time Miss Kaptur had $604,917 in her campaign account, compared with Mr. Kucinich’s $99,440.
Mr. Kucinich — who was in Toledo Monday for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. memorial event at the University of Toledo with his wife — confirmed that the event took place but did not know how much money was raised.
Asked what interests contributors living in Los Angeles would have in the 9th Congressional District, Mr. Kucinich said, “They support peace and civil liberties and human rights and they don’t ask for anything in return, which sets them apart from a number of interest groups who contribute to candidates.”
Mr. Kucinich developed a national network of contributors during his campaigns for president in 2004 and 2008.
Mr. Kucinich said he found the MLK event inspiring and said he met with some people in Toledo before heading to Lorain for a 2 p.m. appointment.
"It was very spirited and people have a great sense of community and commitment. Also I appreciate the way I was welcomed by people in Toledo, which is not my hometown," Mr. Kucinich said.
Miss Kaptur was also at UT's MLK birthday ceremony.
According to the fund-raising invitation from Mrs. Kucinich, “We need Dennis’ voice representing ours in Congress.” As an example of his voice, the invitation included a link the an online video of him “grilling the former CEO of Bank of America.”
In the video clip, Mr. Kucinich is seen questioning Ken Lewis about Bank of America's takeover of ailing Merrill Lynch & Co. during the 2008 credit crisis. Mr. Kucinich pressed Mr. Lewis over whether he was trying to blame the federal government for his support of that takeover, which outraged shareholders. Bank of America received a $45 billion taxpayer bailout, which it repaid.
Mr. Kucinich also got a plug from author Gore Vidal on Mr. Vidal’s Web site http://www.gorevidalnow.com/2012/01/gore-for-dennis-join-dennis-and-elizabeth-kucinich-and-gore-vidal-for-a-re-election-reception/.
Here’s a taste from the famous writer:
Over the past eight terms of Congressional service, and through two presidential campaigns, Dennis Kucinich has been a leader of Democrats, challenging wrongful, illegal wars and misadventures abroad; working for nuclear disarmament; attempting to defeat and repeal the Patriot Act; proposing the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for leading America into a war based on lies; standing up for universal single payer health care. While holding the chair of the Government Oversight Subcommittee on Domestic Policy, he forced Wall Street bankers to an accounting and exposed their machinations which led to the subprime loan meltdown.
Dennis Kucinich has been a leader to protect ecologically sensitive areas from drilling, opposing fracking, the Keystone Pipeline, and working for nuclear safety and accountability.
He has shown the connection between peace and prosperity and has proposed a cabinet level Department of Peace, to create a new structure in our government which works from principles of non-violent conflict resolution. And, at a time when a woman’s right to privacy on reproductive decisions is under attack, he has taken a strong stand for choice.
As America continues to take steps towards a national security state, he is prepared to defend democratic principles and to protect basic Constitutional guarantees in the Bill of Rights.
His willingness to stand up and speak out, regardless of the issue, or the odds, has been made possible by contributors everywhere who recognize the value of having someone in Congress who cannot be bought or bossed and who has the integrity and willingness to take a stand.