LEFTIES RALLY BEHIND THE SAFEST GUY IN CONGRESS

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The online progressive community loves Dennis Kucinich. Leftie blog Firedoglake just announced that Dennis Kucinich is the winner of their first FDL Fire Dog contest to identify a progressive leader in Congress. A week’s worth of voting produced over 110,00 votes; Kucinich snagged 24,967, easily beating second-place winner Alan Grayson of Florida (17,296) and New Yorker Anthony Weiner (13,160). While the site suggested evaluating the candidates based on whether they voted for the June 2009 war supplemental and whether they pledged to vote against any defense funding without troop withdrawal provisions and any health-care bill without a public option, visitors to the site were free to vote for any of the 180 nominated congresspersons.

The winners will receive online fundraising assistance, voter lists for their districts and help in phone banking to I.D., persuade and turn out voters. Whether Kucinich will need extra assistance this cycle is debatable. With the filing deadline for the May 4 primary only a week away, he’s drawn no Democratic challengers. The field of five Republican challengers includes only one — Thomas R. Olschlager — who has so much as a website, although one other, Peter J. Corrigan (not the Democratic common-pleas judge of the same name), has already qualified for the ballot. The Republican field also potentially includes Michael Grusenmeyer, Benjamin J. Franklin and James F. Brihan; we’ll see next week which of them turn in the valid signatures they need. — Anastasia Pantsios

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