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CONTEST FOR A CANDI-DATE.

Byline: Karen McCowan The Register-Guard

ROSEBURG - It was reality television meets C-SPAN Friday night, as Kathryn Maxwell came all the way from Tucson, Ariz., to win the "Who Wants to Marry a Presidential Candidate Pageant."

The tongue-in-cheek event was sponsored by Douglas County Kucinich campaign as a way to draw attention to the bachelor Ohio congressman's Democratic presidential bid.

Not that Maxwell is guaranteed even a date with the evening's theoretical groom.

Dennis Kucinich was present only in two dimensions, his boyish face pasted on a life-sized cardboard cutout of a leather clad Spike from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

The pageant was the brainchild of Katherine Dailey and Karma Clarke-Jung, co-workers at a Roseburg treatment center for emotionally disturbed adolescents. But they credit Kucinich himself with inadvertently providing the impetus.

"There was a lot of press about the fact that he's a bachelor," Clarke-Jung said. "And when he was asked at a forum what his first lady would be like, he jokingly replied, `Maybe Fox would sponsor a reality TV show and find me one.' '

The two women seized on the idea as a fun way to draw potential voters who don't even know how to pronounce their candidate's name (koo-CIN-itch, the Roseburg audience was taught Friday night).

"We wanted it to be entertaining, but with some good information thrown in," Clarke-Jung said.

The seven contestants were judged on their answers to questions about Kucinich's platform. Sample question: Dennis is the only candidate who: a) voted against the war in Iraq, b) opposed the $87 billion giveaway to Iraq, c) both a and b, d) knows where the weapons of mass destruction are.

They also competed in the inaugural gown and talent competitions.

For her talent, Maxwell read from her parody of the Night Before Christmas, addressed to President George W. Bush.

"Between Osama and Iraq there was never a nexus," she wrote. "So take your Billionaire Oil Club and get back to Texas."

The high school teacher and single mother actually has already met Kucinich. "I shook his hand when he was in Tucson," she said. "I was tempted to slip him my phone number. That's one man I would really like to have dinner with!"

But she didn't come all the way to Oregon purely to enhance the chance of that happening. Clark-Jung is her sister and Maxwell was up to celebrate her Feb. 13 birthday. The other candidates ranged from high school girls to a male college student who donned a platinum wig and sang a breathy, Marilyn Monroe-style happy birthday to the Kucinich cutout.

Dailey, Clarke-Jung and about 30 other members of Douglas County for Kucinich are still devoting lots of energy to their campaign, despite the fact that their candidate's best showing to date was in Maine, where he drew 14 percent of the vote.

"I'm actually quite encouraged by that - he broke into double digits," said Dailey. "Still, it's his ideas that we want to get out there. This isn't a personality cult. Maybe at the convention he'll get a chance to stand up and talk where people can listen to him.

"Whether or not he wins, we want everyone to know who he is and what he stands for. That's why we did this."

Her top three Kucinich positions?

"Pulling out of Iraq and getting the UN to take over that role, single payer health care and strong support of unions and American workers," she said.

CAPTION(S):

Kathryn Maxwell (center) positions her tiara and pretends to be stunned after winning a contest to see who would make a great first lady for presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. The Douglas County Kucinich for President Campaign held the contest to raise awareness of their candidate. Kevin Clark / The Register-Guard Contestants Maureen Bell (from left), Carolyn Hard and Karma Clarke-Jung raise answer questions about Kucinich.
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Title Annotation:Politics; Supporters for Kucinich for president pretend to play matchmaker for the bachelor
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 14, 2004
Words:639
Previous Article:Students deny that sex abuse took place.
Next Article:Kulongoski briefs Bush on his visit to Iraq.


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