INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, Jan 24, 2024 (AP): Former Ohio Congressman and two-time Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said Wednesday that he’s running for Congress again, this time as an independent.

Kucinich, 77, a former Cleveland mayor who was consistently rated as one of the most liberal House members, said he is seeking the 7th District seat now held by Republican Rep. Max Miller. Two Democratic hopefuls have also filed paperwork to seek their party’s nomination.

Referring to himself as someone who has shown he can work with Democrats and Republicans, Kucinich said the nation’s ongoing political polarization and congressional gridlock are a threat to national security.

“Service to a nation must be superior to service to a political party,” Kucinich said. “My vote will become pivotal in closely divided Congress. … Now more than ever, America needs persons with experience in Congress to guide our nation through this difficult time.”

Kucinich was elected as the country’s youngest big-city mayor when he won the Cleveland job in 1977 at age 31. He later served eight terms in Congress before he was defeated in the 2012 Democratic primary by Rep. Marcy Kaptur after Ohio’s congressional districts were redrawn.

He also twice ran for president and lost a Democratic primary bid for Ohio governor in 2018. Until October, he served as campaign manager for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential campaign.