CLEVELAND (AP) — Dubbed the “boy mayor” of Cleveland as a 31-year-old, Dennis Kucinich announced Monday that he will make another bid for the office more than 40 years later.
During an afternoon news conference from a bluff overlooking downtown, Kucinich vowed to make the city safe again by hiring 400 additional police officers, increasing police pay and creating a Cabinet-level civic peace department. As head of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, he said would create a new peace curriculum.
“Fair, impartial and even-handed law enforcement is a top priority,” Kucinich said.
Kucinich, 74, filed paperwork in December to allow him to begin fundraising. He will face a field of candidates in September's non-partisan primary in this heavily Democratic city that includes City Council President Kevin Kelley, State Sen. Sandra Williams, former Councilman Zack Reed and nonprofit executive Justin Bibb.
The top two vote-getters advance to the November general election. Current Mayor Frank Jackson announced in early May he would not seek a fifth four-year term.
Kucinich drew attention as the youngest big-city mayor in the U.S. after his election in 1977. He survived a recall attempt after refusing to sell Cleveland's municipal power plant, a move that plunged the city into default. Future Ohio governor and U.S. Senator George Voinovich defeated Kucinich in the 1979 mayor's race.
Kucinich was elected to the first of his eight congressional terms in 1996. He was defeated in the 2012 Democratic primary by Rep. Marcy Kaptur after Ohio's congressional districts were redrawn.
He twice ran for president and lost a Democratic primary bid for Ohio governor in 2018.
Consistently rated as one of the most liberal House members, Kucinich as a Fox News pundit praised President Donald Trump and claimed the “deep state” inside the U.S. intelligence community was working to undermine Trump's presidency. Kucinich also has drawn criticism for his support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.