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Dennis Kucinich Leaving Congress, Opts Against Running In Washington State

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WASHINGTON -- Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) will not run for Congress in Washington state in 2012, telling his supporters in an email on Wednesday that his service in the U.S. House of Representatives will end on Jan. 2, 2013.

The eight-term congressman lost his reelection bid in a March primary to fellow Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), after their seats were combined under redistricting. For months, there had been speculation that Kucinich would move to Washington state and run for Congress there.

On Wednesday, however, he said he would not pursue that option. The filing deadline to run in the state is May 18.

"After careful consideration and discussions with [my wife] Elizabeth and my closest friends, I have decided that, at this time, I can best serve from outside the Congress," he wrote in the email. "My commitments to peace, to workers' rights and to social and economic justice are constant and are not dependent upon holding an office. They are dependent upon my continuing to stand up, to speak out, to organize, to motivate and to inspire our nation as to its deeper potential. This I promise I will do with great energy and heart."

In April, Kucinich sent an email to his supporters asking them to take a survey that asked whether he should move to Washington state and run, citing the support of a group called Washington Citizens for Kucinich. The chair of the state Democratic Party, however, was vocally opposed to Kucinich's relocation.

"Dennis Kucinich has to decide what his legacy is going to be. Will he be remembered as a principled member of Congress or the narcissist who lost two Congressional races in two states the same year?" chair Dwight Pelz told the Seattle Times.

In Congress, Kucinich has made a name for himself as a steady anti-war voice. He told The Huffington Post in December that the growing popularity of his positions has increased his network of supporters.

"People are more willing to listen to someone who has challenged the wars," he said. "People are more willing to listen to someone who says look, we shouldn't be extending ourselves all over the world, and should start taking care of things here at home. These are things that I've talked about over the years. My constituency keeps growing."

In his email on Wednesday, Kucinich said he was proud of the legacy he was leaving behind.

"At the end of this term I will have served sixteen years in the House of Representatives, leading the way for peace, to bring an end to the wars, for workers' rights, for health care for all, for monetary policy reform and to end the corrupting influence which money has on our political decision-making process," he wrote.

Read his full email:

Dear Friend,

I would like to thank you for your support, and thank the tens of thousands of concerned Citizens for Kucinich who in the past few months have written, emailed and called to discuss my running for Congress in Washington State.

At the end of this term I will have served sixteen years in the House of Representatives, leading the way for peace, to bring an end to the wars, for workers' rights, for health care for all, for monetary policy reform and to end the corrupting influence which money has on our political decision-making process. My staff and I have worked to deliver a level of constituent service to the people of Cleveland, which most agree is unmatched for results. As testimony to our efforts in the Cleveland area I received about 75% of the vote from my present constituents who were included in the newly redistricted area in which I ran in March.

Because of my love of public service, I have given a great deal of time and much thought to the advice and encouragement I have received from so many people of good will in Washington State. I certainly want to continue to be of service to our country and to the working men and women who have built it.

After careful consideration and discussions with Elizabeth and my closest friends, I have decided that, at this time, I can best serve from outside the Congress. My commitments to peace, to workers' rights and to social and economic justice are constant and are not dependent upon holding an office. They are dependent upon my continuing to stand up, to speak out, to organize, to motivate and to inspire our nation as to its deeper potential. This I promise I will do with great energy and heart.

I will complete my service in the U.S. House on January 2, 2013, with the same passion and devotion to duty with which I began it on January 3, 1997. And when I do, I shall think of you and all those who have given me encouragement to continue to be of service, and I will smile, knowing that we shall meet again in our celebration of the potential of citizen activists to change the world.

Please continue to encourage your friends and family to sign up at www.Kucinich.us because we will need to continue to work together for change outside Congress, as we have worked for it from within. This is just the beginning!

Sincerely,

Dennis

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