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Rep. Dennis Kucinich gets Barney Frank’s endorsement in primary battle

Former House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts is backing Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich in his primary battle against Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur.

Frank, who will retire from the House of Representatives at the end of this year, announced his support in a letter posted on Kucinich’s campaign website.

“I am very appreciative of his strong support for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Frank. “And, we have been the most active in the House in arguing for a cause that is now getting the recognition it deserves – substantially reducing America’s military activity across the world.”

Frank said that his support for Kucinich is not meant to denigrate Kaptur, who was put into the same district as Kucinich by Republicans who controlled Ohio’s redistricting process.

“This is not a case where supporters of progressive principles have to choose between two people who both fall short of our ideals,” said Frank. “It is, however, in my judgment a situation in which there is one candidate who has brought an extraordinary set of qualities to the House.”

Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought said Frank’s endorsement was no surprise, since Kaptur opposed the financial industry reform bill that Frank authored with former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd. Fought said the bill “pampered the Wall Street banks rather than holding them accountable for the damage they did to our country.”

A spokesman for longshot candidate Graham Veysey of Cleveland, who is running in the Democratic primary against the two established incumbents, was also unsurprised by the endorsement.

“Congress is a club, and we’re more concerned about picking up endorsements from voters in the 9th district than career politicians,” said Veysey spokesman Paul Vogelsang.

Kucinich said he was “honored” to have Frank’s support.

“He has been a pioneer for so many Americans who would otherwise be discriminated against or shut out of the system,” said Kucinich.

Frank’s backing for Kucinich goes as far back as the 1996 race in which Kucinich defeated incumbent GOP Rep. Martin Hoke of Lakewood. Frank held a fundraiser for Kucinich in Lakewood that year.

Read this and other articles at the Cleveland Plain Dealer

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