Kucinich defies expectations

Ohio Representative and Democratic presidential candidate DennisKucinich took 16 percent of the presidential vote in Tuesdaynight’s Oregon Democratic primary, surpassing even the expectationsof many of his supporters. Sen. John Kerry received 81 percent.

Whether the number is enough to force the Kerry campaign to payheed to Kucinich supporters’ issues is still unclear.

Local campaign organizers had predicted yesterday that he wouldreceive at least five percent of the vote, but said they did notexpect to receive more than 25 percent.

Due to voter turnout in support of Kucinich, the congressmanwill have several delegates from Oregon at the Democratic NationalConvention in Boston this July.

“Oregonians responded to my message about the importance of theDemocratic Party taking a stand on the crucial issues facing ourcountry,” Kucinich said in a press release Wednesday. “Now we’llhave additional delegates to help take that message to theconvention”

Kucinich currently has 27 delegates headed to the convention torepresent him, compared to Kerry’s 1,939. The 16 percent vote forKucinich in Oregon is one of the highest percentages in his favorin the state primaries. He received 13 percent of the vote inColorado, but fewer than five percent in most other states thathave already held their primaries.

Kucinich has devoted much of the past six weeks to campaigningaround Oregon, saying he viewed the state as a key chance to send amessage to the Democratic Party. He made several stops throughoutthe state, including visiting a political science class at PSU.

“He (Kucinich) made a decision early on that this was a statewhere he wanted to make an impact,” said Barry Marks, mediadirector for Kucinich’s campaign in Oregon.

Marks is one of over 700 volunteers who worked on the Kucinichcampaign in Oregon, averaging 10-15 hours per week conversing withpotential supporters and passing out campaign literature.

Kucinich said the response of Oregonians was especially strongon the issue of the war in Iraq and that he intends to make that acenterpiece of his ongoing campaign in Montana, South Dakota,Alabama, New Jersey and Puerto Rico.

Kucinich has been an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq andglobal trade agreements like the North American Free TradeAgreement and the World Trade Organization.

Kerry’s proposed Iraq plan suggests getting both NATO and theUnited Nations involved in the transition to an autonomousgovernment, but Kucinich has indicated skepticism of Kerry’splans.

“I don’t think people in America want to trade a Republican warin Iraq for a Democrat war in Iraq,” Kucinich said at PSU in April.”My presence in the primary gives people a chance to voice theirdesire for a new direction in Iraq.”