BOSTON (AP) – Defying an appeal by Dennis Kucinich, six Maine delegates cast their floor votes at the Democratic National Convention for the maverick Ohio congressman as a gesture of commitment to his progressive principles, a delegate said.

John Kerry, the party’s eventual nominee, received 28 of the Maine delegation’s 35 votes. One delegate, former Gov. Kenneth Curtis, was not present.

Prior to the Wednesday night vote, Kucinich renewed his call for delegates to unite behind Kerry.

“We are left, right, center. We are one,” Kucinich told the crowd. “And we are one for John Kerry!”

But when the roll was called, the six Kucinich delegates stuck with him to symbolize their support for several issues he stressed during his campaign, Lu Bauer, the Kucinich campaign’s co-coordinator in Maine, said Thursday.

The issues include a strategy to get out of Iraq, a universal, single-payer health care system, dismantling of the Patriot Act, withdrawing from two free-trade treaties and creating a Cabinet-level Department of Peace, said Bauer, of Standish.

Kucinich delegates from states including North Carolina, Hawaii and Colorado also cast votes for Kucinich, while attempting to clarify on the convention floor that they would support Kerry in November.

“The entire Maine delegation looks forward to working tirelessly to elect John Kerry as our next president,” said Maine Democratic party chairwoman Dottie Melanson before announcing that Maine would cast 28 votes for Kerry and six for Kucinich.

Bauer said Kucinich supporters and the delegation wanted to express their intention to work to elect the Kerry-Edwards ticket.

But in casting their votes, “we didn’t want to be accused of caving in, in any shape or form,” said Bauer. “It was so the Dean and Kerry supporters know we’re still here with the issues.”

Kucinich placed third in Maine’s precinct caucuses last February. Kerry was the winner and Howard Dean of Vermont was runner-up.

The Maine delegation was among the most visible in its support for Kucinich, unfurling homemade signs that were not permitted on the convention floor. Also visible were the Kucinich supporters’ bright-pink scarves, which symbolize a pink slip for President Bush, Bauer said.

AP-ES-07-29-04 1142EDT



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