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Kaptur, Ohio congresswoman, enters Democratic leadership race

She plans to seek delay in voting, now set for Thursday

Rep. Marcy Kaptur:
Rep. Marcy Kaptur: "I think it's important to offer a choice."

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rep. Marcy Kaptur, an Ohio Democrat, entered the race Wednesday for House minority leader -- one day before her colleagues are to vote on whom they want to lead them in next year's Congress.

Kaptur, 56, joins California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, 62, who says she has the race wrapped up, and Rep. Harold Ford Jr., 32, of Tennessee, who says he represents the kind of change needed in the Democratic Party -- especially after the midterm elections in which Democrats lost House seats.

Kaptur, the most senior Democratic woman in the House of Representatives, said she would urge her colleagues to postpone the vote on leadership positions scheduled for Thursday.

"I realize that Congresswoman Pelosi has commitments from a majority of the Democrats, but I think it's important to offer a choice and to give voice to the reform wing of the Caucus," Kaptur said in a statement.

Kaptur, a 10-term member, said Democrats should focus on political and campaign finance reform, as well as the economy.

"To win, our party must adopt a reform paradigm," she said. "We will never raise more money than the Republicans, never. We must elevate the non-money wing of the Democratic Party and create populist symbols to convey our message."

Democrats, she said, need to do a better job of outlining "an alternative for America's families and workers." Kaptur named prescription drug programs, a federal national health insurance plan for small businesses and a new energy policy as items that should be priorities for Democrats.

The race began last week after House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri said he would not seek a new term in that leadership post.

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