Trakas Announces Congressional Bid; Someone Light the Barbecue

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Jim Trakas is hoping West Side voters may actually support a Republican
The battle for Dennis Kucinich’s congressional seat in 2008 is so hot it could toast a Pop-Tart. Since the West Side congressman decided three years ago that it would be way more fun to represent Hawaii and California – “Bill it to that old lady on East 55th Street!” -- there’s been an upsurge of resentment against the little guy. Four Democrats have already hopped into the race, led by downtown Councilman Joe Cimperman. Now the GOP has announced its long-shot pony, former state Rep. Jim Trakas. He may be one of the brighter minds in local politics, but to West Side voters, supporting a Republican is like French-kissing your elderly aunt. A Plain Dealer scribe referred to Trakas as his party’s “sacrificial lamb.” C-Notes was intrigued, so we decided to get the scoop straight from the ewe’s mouth: Was Trakas in the race just so the GOP could say it tried, or did he really think he had a chance? And how many times did he watch Rocky III the night before his announcement? We reached Trakas on the side of a road, where his car had run out of gas. If we were clever, we’d snootily note that it was an apt metaphor for his campaign. But we’re not – I mean, that’s gotta be obvious, isn’t it? -- so we’ll just transcribe the interview: C-Notes: Are you the GOP’s sacrificial lamb? Trakas: (chuckling) I’m Greek, so people call me a lamb a lot. What brought me into the race was people telling me, ‘We like you and we just don’t think Kucinich is getting the job done.’ C-Notes: So you’re not, you know, taking one for the team on this one? Trakas: If I didn’t think it was doable, I wouldn’t be in the race. C-Notes: What would you say are your odds of winning this? Trakas: I’m not a gambling man, so I won’t make odds on myself. I understand the needs of the people, and I hope that 50 percent plus one of the voters agree with me. C-Notes: Seriously, you’re jumping in front of a speeding bullet on this one, right? C-Notes: Sticking out your shoulder as the pitch comes in? C-Notes: Pushing the baby carriage off the tracks, but then your pant leg gets stuck as the train approaches? C-Notes: Hello? -- Gus Garcia-Roberts

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