Having already made multiple trips to Washington State this year, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich will return on July 9th for the 2011 NWroots Conference in Seattle. Kucinich has been making frequent visits here, presumably in preparation for a redistricting that may leave him without a congressional district to represent. Speculation is that he could settle and run in Washington’s tenth, first, seventh, eighth, or even third district. Demographics for each of these districts will not be fully known until redistricting is complete.
The Tenth District will likely be an open seat. The Eighth may or may not include Mercer Island, where incumbent Dave Reichert currently lives. The First District will be vacated due to Jay Inslee’s bid for governor. The Third is currently a swing district and not safely in Republican hands. There is talk that Jim McDermott may be appointed Ambassador to India, which would leave the Seventh open (although I talked to a McDermott staffer last week who said the rumor that McDermott is angling for the India ambassadorship is complete nonsense).
There are problems with any scenario which includes Kucinich as a candidate, and it is not at all certain he would be a good fit anywhere in Washington.
State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz recently made it clear in a phone conversation with Kucinich that he’d rather the Congressman not poke around the state in search of a district to serve.
Regardless, Kucinich obviously sees potential in Washington. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. One thing Kucinich was clear about when I had dinner with him last month is that he won’t run against an incumbent Democrat anywhere. If he has to relocate it will be in a district where he can run in an open seat, or against an incumbent Republican. He will not take on an officeholder from his own party.
Kucinich will join Congressmen Jim McDermott and Jay Inslee, former Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, and Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson at NWroots 2011 on July 9th.
NWroots is a regional conference for liberal bloggers, activists, and citizens interested in progressive public policy. The event will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, documentaries, and a candidates social.
The closing keynote address will be delivered by Ujjal Dosanjh. In last month’s Federal election, Dosanjh lost his seat in Parliament and announced his retirement from politics. He has previously served as Health Minister in Paul Martin’s cabinet, Premier of British Columbia, and B.C.’s Attorney General.
The conference will be finished off with a special performance by the Total Experience Gospel Choir.
NWroots, which is being organized by NPI and the NWroots Fellowship, will be held at the Comedy Underground in Pioneer Square. Breakfast and lunch are included in the registration price of $50 ($25 students). An after-party will take place one block away at the historic Central Saloon. It should be a fun and interesting day.
I hope you’ll join me and the NPI team at NWroots on July 9th!