One of the few marquee matchups heading into Ohio's March 6th primary is the race between two Congressional incumbents: Democrats Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich. WKSU's M.L. Schultze has more on the contest for a district that stretches from Toledo to Cleveland.
The 9th district is one of only four congressional districts that the Ohio Legislature drew to lean a Democrat's way. But the GOP map doesn't do either Marcy Kaptur or Dennis Kucinich many favors. That's because it follows the shoreline of Lake Erie, to match the two Democratic incumbents against each other.
So far, the geographic distribution of the voters and the fund-raising numbers favor Kaptur. Kucinich says he'll change that as voters get to know his positions.
"Jobs for all, healthcare for all, education for all, retirement security for all, housing opportunity for all, peace, a clean environment. These are all things that people are concerned about."
But all of those sound like the same kinds of things Marcy Kaptur would say she is for. When asked how he would differentiate himself from Kaptur, Kucinich replies:
"There's time to do that. The spirit of this campaign is not oppositional. It's informational. It's to inspire people. It's to give people an understanding of the potential of a congressional seat to be of service."
But Kaptur was a bit more specific when asked what differentiates her from Kucinich. She made a glancing reference to Kucinich's two runs for the presidency, and his consideration of a run for Congress from Washington state:
"I think a very intimate knowledge of the region's economic infrastructure. I really haven't sought office nationally, I haven't sought to serve in another district in another state. I've been very, very committed to our coastal community."
And through the district could be as easily campaigned by Laker Erie freighter as by car or bus, Kaptur says it does have shared interests that she understands.
"The region as a whole is one that has been very affected by the automotive industry and the washout that has occurred in manufacturing. I've always been a leader in trying to modernize that industry and to restore that industry, and have been very privileged to represent some of those companies...Chrysler, Jeep, Fiat and now Ford in Avon Lake."
Kaptur also says she and Kucinich differ when it comes to defense.
"We are different in terms of our commitment to our nation's defense and to our veterans. I have a very long record of service to our veterans and serve on the defense committee, and have been a proponent of a very strong defense for our country."
But Kucinich says his skepticism about at least one war effort should reassure voters in the new 9th District that he will represent them well.
"I led the effort in Congress to challenge the Bush administration's march toward war. I was criticized at the time. People were saying well, 'Hey, Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, they're going to hurt the United States, what are you doing?' Years later, I was proven right. That's really been the story of my career: taking stands that were unpopular at one time, and later on proving to be right."
Kucinich says Northeast Ohio voters value his independence, and he thinks those in Northwest Ohio will as well.
"I don't hold this seat for myself. I hold it because people want someone who's going to stand up and speak out, who's not afraid of being criticized."
Dennis Kucinich has represented the Cleveland area since 1997. Marcy Kaptur has represented the Toledo area since 1983.