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Thursday, October 06, 2005

OH-Sen: The Story So Far

Posted by DavidNYC

Way, way back at the start of the year, President Bush followed all second-term presidents in performing a time-honored rite: the cabinet reshuffle. We saw some dear old friends depart, like John Ashcroft and Colin Powell. We were introduced to some wonderful new faces, like Alberto Gonzalez. And some of our long-time buddies just couldn't bear to leave, like Condi Rice and Donald Rumsfeld.

Almost lost in this misty-eyed pastoral is the tremendously important post of US Trade Representative. Whoever holds this job is responsible for travelling around the world on the government's tab to convince foreign countries to buy our goods. What an awesome job. The lucky fellow who held this job in Bush's first term was one Robert Zoellick, who became a Deputy Secretary of State at the start of Bush's second term. Ah, Bob, we hardly knew ye.

To fill this crucial gap in our nation's governing apparatus, George Bush tapped Robert Portman to fill Zoellick's big shoes. Portman, you see, was a Congressman from southwest Ohio, roughly in the neighborhood of Cincinnati. His district - Ohio's second - was one of the most conservative in Ohio, if not the nation. It had reliably sent a Republican to Congress for decades, and Democrats hadn't poked their heads above a feeble 30% or so for a long, long time.

Smart play by Mr. Bush: Tap a solid insider for your cabinet, and ensure that you don't lose any ground in the House. And the plan worked, too - but you couldn't ask for a better illustration of "be careful what you wish for." So what happened along the way?

A certain blogger - me, as it happens - noticed the Portman nomination and espied the inevitable open seat and special election that would of necessity ensue. So I wrote about it over at the seminal Democratic blog DailyKos. I didn't view the race as winnable (not at the time, at least), but I did think it would give our side a great opportunity to do some political R&D - to experiment, be bold, hold nothing back. When you've got nothing to lose, you can be as aggressive as you want.

Meanwhile, things began to unfold on the ground in Ohio. The fateful primary election took place on June 14th. The Dems emerged with a man that almost no one had heard of - but he did have an interesting resume. Major Paul Hackett had just returned from serving a tour of duty with the Marines in Iraq - a war, believe it or not, he opposed. Who could speak with more authority - both intellectual and moral - on such an important subject, than someone with a background like that?

It turns out that Paul Hackett was also the sort of blunt, plain-spoken non-politician that so many Democrats had craved for so long. He was Howard Dean in fatigues. To many, Hackett's individual positions weren't nearly as important as his willingness to speak his mind. He definitely didn't vote for anything before he voted against it.

The blogosphere began to take serious interest in the race at this point - and a huge reason was Tim Tagaris, one of the editors of this humble magazine. Tim, on the ground with Grow Ohio, served as a crucial conduit between the online world and OH-02. Reports flowed in fast and furious from southwest Ohio. The Swing State Project (along with the OH-02 Blog) quickly became a hub for anyone who wanted to know more about the race or get involved.

As online activists started tuning in, volunteers began to flood the district as well. Hackett started getting real media coverage. He also had a lot of things going for him: Distrust and anger toward Republicans in the state of Ohio had been mounting since the Coingate revelations; Bush's popularity amongst Buckeyes had been steadily dropping; and he drew an opponent, Jean Schmidt, who was as corrupt (she took piles of cash from the now-indicted Tom DeLay) as she was feckless (she was reduced to defensively declaring she wouldn't be a "rubber stamp" during debates).

In the middle of the hubbub, Tim's fellow SSP editor, Bob Brigham, also decamped for the battleground of OH-02. Traffic exploded here as Bob and Tim tag-teamed the final days of the race. Back home, I kept the front page of DailyKos updated as often as I could. A certain energy crackled and infused everything about the whole campaign.

And people began to realize that this was no long just an opportunity to do some R&D - something much more was happening here. Hackett got scads of scrilla from online donations. The GOP got spooked and poured in big money of its own - in a district that Portman had won by 40 points the last time out. The establishment Dems took notice and fired back with a further cash infusion. The race was getting seriously, seriously hot.

It looked like Hackett could conceivably, possibly, just maybe win. No one knew for sure, of course - no one had done any independent, verifiable polling. But even if Hackett didn't win, lots of people - on the ground, in the professional commentariat, across the blogosphere - realized that a strong performance would send a message.

And boy did Paul Hackett send a message. Yeah, he lost - but by a margin much narrower than anyone would have dreamed. Republicans enjoyed scoffing about Hackett's loss, but there was jubilation on the Democratic side. Hackett lost by four points. The prior Dem who ran for this seat lost by ten times that margin. Anyone who refused to believe this showing didn't mean something truly had their head in the proverbial sand.

But the race did more than just send a message. A new star was born - and it wasn't Jean Schmidt. While she limped into her seat in Congress, Paul Hackett became a new Democratic Party star. His fearlessness and ability to connect with normal people (ie, everyone in America who doesn't suffer from D.C. Beltway Brain-rot) ensured that he wouldn't soon be forgotten. Just about everyone agreed he had a bright future in politics.

It turns out that his future was now. The Ohio GOP was reeling. Incumbent Republican Senator Mike DeWine, suffering atrocious approval ratings, was up for re-election in 2006. The Dems were looking for someone to take him on. A lot of people thought Paul Hackett would be the perfect guy to do that.

After some months of convincing, it appeared that Paul Hackett finally thought so as well, and rumors of his candidacy spread like wildfire across the Internet during the month of September. The way was clear for Hackett: Ohio Congressmen Tim Ryan and Sherrod Brown both indicated that they weren't going to run against DeWine.

As October rolled around (and the third quarter ended), an official announcement from Hackett was widely expected. (No candidate for office was going to announce right in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, in any event.) Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the election: Sherrod Brown, previously thought to be uninterested in the Senate race, started making noises that he would, in fact, throw his hat into the ring.

At that point, almost instantly, battle lines were drawn. Now, brother is pit against brother, more or less. Alright, so I'm making it sound like a melodramatic Civil War miniseries, only with fewer guns. But the dynamics are pretty fascinating.

Jerome Armstrong, the liberal blogfather and creator of the ur-blog MyDD, jumped on board Brown's ship. (Jerome is, in fact, working for Brown.) Jerome's greatest protege, Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos, has sided with Hackett.

And over here at the Swing State Project, the situation is no less jumbled. Tim, as I mentioned above, works for Grow Ohio, which means, like Jerome, he works for Sherrod Brown. Bob, on the other hand, has just started volunteering for Hackett and, as you can see from his posts here, supports him vociferously.

Today, however, Markos seems to weigh in on Brown's side, though the bulk of his readers support Hackett. Meanwhile, Tim (rightfully) wants to focus on RON, not an internecine battle. The Hotline's Blogometer has already noted a "split" in left-blogistan, but as all this indicates, the fault lines are far from clear. Indeed, Chris Bowers, the lead author at MyDD and Jerome's fellow blogger-in-arms, hasn't yet decided whom to support.

So where does this leave me? I count myself in the Hackett camp. But I definitely don't want to see a real blogspheric civil war emerge. We just don't need another huge round of infighting, like we saw during the Democratic Presidential primaries throughout all of 2003. The tide this year is turning strongly against the Republicans. Their corruption is catching up with them. Many will lose next year - both at the ballot box and in the courtroom. It's more important than ever that we stay united to capitalize on this perfect storm.

And the Swing State Project remains committed to bringing you the best coverage possible of the race - and that means reporting on the strengths and foibles of both the guys we support and the guys we don't.

I'll be honest: I wish Brown had chosen a different course of action. But since he's apparently committed at this point, all I'm hoping for is a good clean fight. So let's do this thing!

Posted at 08:30 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Netroots, Ohio, Site News, Special Elections | Technorati

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Mark me down as predicting Hackett wins the primary by 10 points while providing the Democratic Party a message -- and credibility -- on Iraq.

As for there being a primary, so be it. Hackett will win, but it is a good thing. As Hackett said on election night:

"Democracy was successful this evening...We Americans have a choice, democracy is the benefactor and we gave that to them"

Rock on!

Posted by: Bob Brigham [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 04:54 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

You are right on in the sense the Ohio Democratic Party has no message, and one doesn't appear to be on the horizon. However, a message on Iraq, the War on Terror, Immigration, etc. isn't what's going to win in Ohio. The message has to hammer on the culture of corruption that has been purvasive in Ohio during the Voinovich and Taft administrations, and its ramifications on the state. Although he had little to no responsibility for what has happened in Ohio during the past 15 years, the best message the Democratic candidate, whomever it may be, can communicate about Mike DeWine is that he is no different than any other Republican in Ohio; meaning he is just as open to the culture of pay-to-play, corporate handouts, and shady deals as the rest of them. Attack DeWine on the issues, ANY Dem. candidate loses by 10 points.

Just as a side note, I'll be happy to play the Sancho Panza to Mr. Brigham's Don Quixote, and let everyone know, that 10 point victory he predicts for Hackett in the primary is just another windmill.

Posted by: andre2006 [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 05:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Thanks for the info. In the end the people of Ohio are the only ones who get to chose. From the outside I am, sorry to say, not optimistic.

I wish Brown had stuck to his original idea and then the focus could be on the Reform which is very important as a precedent for other States.

Posted by: Bill Section 147 [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 05:59 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

These are obviously two excellent candidates. I hope they work something out.

Posted by: Steve M [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 06:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I donated to the Hackett numerous times throughout his campaign for congress. Expect more of the same in his run for U.S. Senate. Sign me up for team Hackett.

Posted by: nickshepDEM [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 06:43 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Someone tell Moveon.org that the $50 I donated in advance of a Hackett for Senate campaign is to be spent on the Senate campaign against DeWine, and not the primary.

Posted by: Samson [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 07:51 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Well, I'm sorry to say that while I love Sherrod, I am thoroughly disappointed with his change of course and announcement today. Being from Sandusky,which is in Ohio's 9th Congressional District, Marcy Kaptur is my Congresswoman. Sherrod's district is right next to mine (he is from Lorain). All of us were inspired by the Hackett campaign. He truly made us believe that we could win... and our support not only provided life to his campaign, but breathed life into his Senate candidacy and offered Ohio Democrats a recipe for success statewide in 2006. Now, anyone who knows Ohio politics knows that Ohio is two different states. I am a proud, northern Ohio liberal. Unfortunately, everything south of I-70 (Columbus) is right-wing land. With this understanding, I was apprehensive about Hackett (afraid of the conservative/moderate democrat plague). He proved that to be unfounded with his principled and inspiring message in the special election. So... that brings us full circle, I originally wanted Sherrod to run for Governor (then Strickland announced) then I wanted him to run against Dewine (and he said he had no intention) then Hackett offered the winning recipe and I was imploring him to run. So Hackett announces with the help of MoveOn.org and other netroots I'm sure, then Sherrod announces???? Democrats have the perfect storm to finally sweep the statewide offices, and just when that happens we end up in civil war. Talk about missed opportunities... The sad thing is that I believe Hackett has the best chance to win Statewide, but we probably won't ever know.

Posted by: OH-09Dem [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 08:22 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Sign me up for Hackett. Brown is a waffling flip flopping backstabber from the tired old mold of the ohio democratic party. I want nothing to do with him.

Posted by: Pounder [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 08:43 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

With all due respect to the previous post, Sherrod Brown is a GREAT man, and one of the most progressive policy oriented member of Congress. If you do not know this, then you are embarrasingly uninformed. There probably isn't anyone as progressive and principled as he is in the House (Bernie Sanders maybe). The sad thing is, 1) He said he wasn't running when the race was his alone 2) He's from NE Ohio, and I don't think he can win Statewide 3) Ohio and the Country will lose a valuable and much needed Congressman when his seat is vacated 4) Hackett CAN win 5) the media will have a field day with this instead of focusing on DeWine.....leading to DeWine's 2006 victory I fear.

Posted by: OH-09Dem [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 08:57 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I can't understand why Brown wanted to spend months playing footsie with the media and Ohio Democrats when it's now evident that he really wants the Senate seat but has drug his feet so long that he may have lost his chance. It's kind of sad, especially if we lose him as a Congressman, because he really is an outstanding voice for our cause. If I were him, I think I'd realize I blew it by waiting so long to decide, suck it up and wait until '10 to either challenge Voinovich or fill his open seat. I'm guessing Voinovich is getting up there in age and could very easily choose to retire at the end of this term. That would be the most principled thing he could do at this point. Had he not been so coy about his intentions and announced his candidacy before Hackett did, Brown would have the moral high ground here. Now, he risks turning the race into the kind of inter-party conflict that plays into DeWine's hands. I hope his handlers convey to him that it's not worth the fight. I sure would hate to lose his voice in Congress because of what appears to me to be an ego trip gone awry.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 09:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

First of all, why did they get my screen name spelled wrong? I just checked both the registration screen and the confrimation e-mail I got and it's spelled right. This is very weird. It should be "Anastasia."

Has Sherrod Brown taken a strong, unequivocal stand against the war in Iraq? I can't find anything on this. If not, he's another of the namby-pamby wimp Democrats I'm always hearing everyone compalin about. Look, I think Brown is a good guy. I think he'll have little appeal downstate. Personally, I like nmost of his positions but I don't get excited about him as a campaigner or a guy who can get people stirred up. I think he's just banking on DeWine's total implosion.

But I agree with Tim in that right now, all I care about is getting RON passed. After that, count me on Hackett's team and if Brown beats him in the primary, I'll probably focus on the gubernatorial race, particularly if Kathy Harris Blackwell is the GOP nominee.

Posted by: Ansatasia P [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 11:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Y'know, for everyone declaiming that Sherrod hasn't taken a strong, unequivocal stand against the war, it's worth remembering that Hackett, while saying that we shouldn't have gone into Iraq, also said that since we're there now, we need to stay there and fix the mess we created.

I'm just saying, is all. And I'm just saying that as a fellow Iraq vet who donated twice to his campaign.

If getting out of Iraq is something that's important to you, then you should know that odds are, Hackett will vote to stay in (which is how I would vote), whereas Brown is more likely (by dint of where he stands on the political spectrum) to vote to leave.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 05:55 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It's also worth noting, for what it's worth, that Brown had a bunch of stuff going on in his personal life. Now that the stuff's dealt with, he felt more oriented towards running.

I mean, I'm not wild about the guy's timing, but it's not like he pulled a Salazar and got dragged and/or jumped into the race at the last minute, either. We're still talking about nearly 13 months before the election--plenty of time, in my book.

Finally--can we quit with the woofing over here in Team Hackett? We don't know that Hackett's going to win, let alone by any margin approaching 10 points. Instead of doing that, let's instead concentrate on building the field operation that on Election Day, will result in Hackett winning by that margin.

Right now, that's not the case. We've got till May 2 of next year. So, let's get started.

One last thing--just because Brown's timing blows, it doesn't follow that he's a hack/sellout/corporate whore. If he beats Hackett, I'll vote for him. I'll work for him. I'll donate to his campaign.

Why? Because on his worst day, he's still a thousand times better than DeWine on his best day, on any one of my issues.

To allow a guy like him to go down in order to satisfy our partisan vanities is the height of folly, and, sad to say, is part of the reason where we ended up today. Let's not get caught up in zealously following one banner simply because of the pose that banner strikes.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 06:11 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

While Paul Hackett said he believes we need to 'stay in' Iraq, I don't believe that means writing Bush a blank check for his global war on terror as has been the status quo by most everyone in Congress.

I will try to stay away from the infighting attempted to be created by the Brown camp -- and don't tell me it's not out there on the net as I've seen it -- but I'm really disgusted with Sherrod Brown.

The enthusiasm and hope injected into this party is because of Paul Hackett. Brown is just a dark cloud now on all that. Sure, he has some good qualities, but he said he wasn't running for Senate and he should have just stayed in the house where everyone would have backed his continued seat.

If this Senate seat is lost, it will be because of Brown allowing the repubs the opportunity to worm into the crack created in our unity for this race.

I'll campaign for Hackett, and I have nothing else to say about Brown ever again.

Posted by: desi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 08:12 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

We DON'T need another round of infighting and the bottom line is that the Democrat party is responsible. We will either lose a congressman or not get Hackett in an office. We lose either way.

I'd like to hear someone step up and do some serious analysis as to why this is a good decision for change in Ohio and on a national level. Anyone? All I've heard is "We are behind Hackett", "Brown is really a good guy", or "We will have two strong candidates and that is GREAT!". But nobody has explained to me yet why this is a good strategy for taking back power from Rethuglicans.

...i'll be waiting...

Posted by: ericv [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 09:50 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It is worth noting that neary every state-wide race in Ohio has a Democratic primary. And in many of those primaries there are no de facto "bad guys" who "deserve to be crushed".

Whether Ohio Democrats are able to keep their primaries civil in the '06 races is unknown, but Brown entering the race hardly changes the dynamics and need to keep messages positive.

And things do seem to be civil so far. Surprisingly, the sharpest insults within Ohio's Democratic primaries seem to be right here on the blogs.

Posted by: Rosen Knight [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 10:21 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Excellent points, Raf. In fact, I'm not at all sure that many of the Iraq war vets running as Democrats have taken the "get out" road. Most of them are, at best, of the opinion that we need to stay, but do things differently -- usually in some unspecified way.

That leaves us in what I'll simply characterize as an interesting situation: Bush is still a "son of a bitch," but we'll be trying to put a better face on his policies, as opposed to, well, opposing them.

Spine? Opposition party? Standing up for principles?

Maybe. But maybe not.

Posted by: Kagro X [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 11:35 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

>>...i'll be waiting...

You'll be waiting a long while, I expect.

Posted by: desi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 02:39 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I am an Ohio voter and I have met Sherrod Brown. The answer to your question is that this IS NOT good for Ohio or for our chances of taking out Dewine. Period. Anyone who says otherwise is championing the "idea" that competition and choice is good and gives the voters and democracy meaning. This is great theory, but not winning politics. Those who are taking Hackett's side strongly, I suspect, are very upset with the manner in which Sherrod went about announcing (as am I) and are still enamoured with Hackett because of his success in the special election (as am I). Those taking Sherrod's side are advocating equally strongly, but in a manner that foreshadows the difference between the two men. Any talk of Sherrod having 1)Some supreme State organization is exagerrated hyperbole and simply not true. 2) Any talk of Sherrod having this overwhelming name recognition in the state is equally false. But these are the arguments being used to buttress Sherrod v. Hackett-- not as forceful and in your face, but trying to do the same thing. I am sure that their respective campaign styles will be eerily similar.

SO, my analysis, for what it's worth, goes something like this... There is probably not much doubt that Sherrod is more liberal and progressive than Hackett; more knowledgeable with the issues; and has the demonstrated ability to be a fighter(if you saw him on the House floor pleading against CAFTA there is no way you can dispute this). So, ideologically speaking, Sherrod is my dream candidate and would be right next to Kennedy,Boxer, and the soon to be newest member of the U.S. Senate from Vermont Mr. Sanders.
Hackett on the other hand can seize upon the discontentment of Taft,Coingate,Iraq, and social issues and will be a more attractive and appealing campaigner. Keep in mind that I'm talking about the two men in terms of a general election race v. Dewine, which is really what matters here. Those who are not from Ohio truly do not understand the dynamic of Hackett being from Cincinatti and being able to pull southern Ohio and rural votes. Being from NE Ohio, is a SEVERE disability in a statewide race. Forgetting about the money issue, because I think that whoever the candidate is will have plenty given Dewine's vulnerability, I have to come down in Hackett's camp for the simple reason that he has better electability chances against Dewine. Ohio is a place where, straight-talking,job-protecting, Union supporting, cultural moderate/conservative/indifference, and an NRA endorsement(the NRA has said they will endorse Hackett over Dewine)will get you elected....Doesn't anyone remember the images of Kerry and Strickland in their carhart jackets and shotguns? Kerry got bashed for that, but why in the world do you think they thought that was a good idea....I just told you why.

Posted by: OH-09Dem [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 04:30 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

OH-09Dem, I'm not from Ohio, but intensely study the geographic dimensions of state-by-state contests, so I appreciate what you're saying about Hackett's statewide advantage in being from Cincinnati. Unless there's a bruising primary battle, Hackett will get just about all of the voters in NE Ohio that Brown would otherwise get in a race against DeWine. On the other hand, Hackett would fare considerably better almost everywhere else in the state unless he is successfully painted as the Howard Dean of 2006, which is always a possibility.

I really like both of these guys and hope like hell they can settle their differences sooner rather than later during a heated Specter/Toomey-esque primary battle. While Hackett comes with a higher level of risk, Brown seems to me the kind of "safe bet" that would likely fall 30,000 votes short of beating DeWine even in a best-case scenario. The potential for victory is highest with Hackett, and that's my only true motivation. Considering Brown was so gratuitously clumsy with the handling of his candidacy, the honorable thing for him to do would be to bow out soon, hold on to House seat, and run again in 2010 against either Voinovich or in an open seat. Do you know how old Brown is? Or Voinovich for that matter?

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 04:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Sherrod is very young(in Senate years) at 53, while Voinovich is 70 and not likely to seek reelection in 2010. You recognized my point that Hackett has a better chance Statewide because Cuyahoga County,Lorain County,Erie County, Lucas County, Mahoning County, will go to Hackett regardless. However, there isn't much Sherrod can do to win over rural and southern Ohio and I believe that Hackett can do VERY well there. These people(the rural and southern ones) will see Dewine's ads blasting Sherrod for going to Yale right off the bat... and there's no coming back..

Posted by: OH-09Dem [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 05:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

OH-09Dem, agreed. I really think Brown should hear this message and wait until 2010 to seek his senatorial bid rather than muck up this race when we have an excellent chance of winning. Hackett has the moral high ground here...and the better chance of winning with the current political alignment. Here's my take on the mathematics of the race.....

DeWine is from the Dayton-Springfield area, probably giving him some advantage in this key swing area. Beyond that, Franklin County (Columbus) is likely to go Dem whether Brown or Hackett is the nominee, but the 50,000-vote margin John Kerry scored in Franklin County last year is alot to ask for in a midterm. With that in mind, DeWine's challenger already has some ground to make up by turning purple areas blue and red areas purple. Brown would probably do a point or two better than Hackett in Cleveland-Akron-Lorain because of name recognition, but would suffer virtually everywhere else in the state. Hackett, on the other hand, has already proven that he's got what it takes to win over conservative rural Dems in places like Pike and Scioto Counties (which are in OH-02). He'd also be likely to win Hamilton County, albeit narrowly, and widen Democratic margins in places like Steubenville and Bowling Green. Assuming everything goes according to plan, and there's no guarantee of that with any candidate, let alone a slightly loose cannon like Hackett, I think we have a winning formula against DeWine.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 05:57 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Mark, your analysis is correct. Just a couple of extra things, Franklin County is trending more and more Democratic... yes Kerry boosted tremendously between 2000(Gore+about 5k) to about 50k, and turnout won't be as strong in 2006, but part of the gain has to do with demographic changes in Columbus, not just turnout. Montgomery County is worth pointing out as well, as I think Hackett can boost maybe 5 points there because Dayton shares a lot of the Cincinatti media market. More interestingly, Stark and Summit counties(summit especially is considered the bellweather county) is where I believe Hackett can gain 2-4points. But remember, Democrats get SMASHED in Butler,Warren, and Clermont counties, a majority of which are in OH-02. Hackett's ability to cut into this margin are decisive +10-15 points.

Posted by: OH-09Dem [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 10:20 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

OH-09, question....do you know if DeWine was in the House before he became a Senator? If he was, the Yellow Springs native could seriously dilute Dem numbers in swing Montgomery County (Dayton) and Clark County (Springfield). If he wasn't in Congress, the homefield advantage may be a moot point in that area. The home Congressional district factor looms large in close statewide races. Last year, Kentucky Democrat Dan Mongiardo put up stellar numbers in Louisville and Lexington and solid numbers in the rest of the state....but lunatic Jim Bunning's continued dominance in NE Kentucky's 4th district, where he served in the House up until 1998, helped drag him past the finish line.

As an outsider, I'm curious to understand specifics about Columbus' demographic changes you speak of. If this trend continues in Franklin County, it'll go a long way into swinging Ohio our direction in statewide races.

I'm surprised you consider Summit a bellwether county. I know that in the last five presidential elections, the Democratic candidate has won it by double digits each time. Perhaps it's not so reliable in statewide races. If either Brown or Hackett isn't winning Summit County next November 7, I think DeWine's third term is sealed. Last November, Kerry's weakest link victories were Stark County (Canton, Massillon) and Montgomery County (Dayton), while Bush's weakest link victories came in Clark County (Springfield) and Lake County (NE Cleveland suburbs).

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 11:49 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

FWIW, DeWine was a Congressman for eight years before becoming Voinovich's running mate in 1990. He served the Ohio 7th, IIRC.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 8, 2005 01:40 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Mark, I misspoke earlier when referencing the bellweather county... I meant Stark county not Summitt, sorry for the confusion. As far as Franklin goes, Columbus is experiencing tremendous population growth, and much of this growth is new,high-tech,bio-tech stuff, which brings along with it new, educated, socially liberal young people. Meaning that, the city population of Columbus is now about 800,000 and growing. Contrast that with Cleveland (450,000 and shrinking) and Cincinatti (345,000) and shrinking. This is somewhat misleading though given that Franklin County is about 1.3 million, Cuyahoga 3 million, and Hamilton 2 million. Suffice it to say, that Columbus is going to keep getting more blue. You mentioned Lake County, which is interesting because Steve Latourette is the Congressman there that cast the decisive vote to pass CAFTA and he is in big trouble up there. Dewine was in Congress for four terms, but his base is really upset with him for joining the "gang of 14". It was funny to see his son in the OH-02 primary come out and attack his dad for that.

Posted by: OH-09Dem [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 8, 2005 10:40 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Just an extra little tidbit about Stark county, that where all the national MSM camps out during Presidentials for this very reason... last year Kerry carried Stark (not by much, but he did) and this was being reported pretty early after all the exit polling showed Kerry carrying Ohio by 1-2points...imagine the disappointment. I haven't checked in awhile, but I'm pretty sure if you go back and check you'll find that last year was the first time recently, the Presidential winner didn't carry Stark... I think it is Kerry 04,Bush2000,Clinton 96,92,Reagan88,84, these people also carried the state.

Posted by: OH-09Dem [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 8, 2005 10:46 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Sorry... Bush 88, Reagan 84,80

Posted by: OH-09Dem [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 8, 2005 10:48 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

OH-09Dem, I thought you probably meant Stark County was the bellwether rather than Summit County. And my Presidential tracking records only go back to 1984, so I don't know when the last time the Stark County vote didn't mirror the nation's. What do you think the chances are of taking out LaTourette this year? If he's in trouble in Lake County, that could spill over into the Senate race for Brown or Hackett. A win in Lake County would help tremendously in pursuit of a statewide victory.

Interesting information about the Columbus area. I had always thought the area's shift to the left was due more to ethnic diversification rather than transformation to a high-tech economy. Do you think Sherrod Brown's populist, anti-CAFTA approach would be successful with the Columbus high-tech crowd if he ends up being the challenger?

Most places in America, it seems as though an influx of young, educated professionals is working to the Democrats' advantage....but a definite exception to that rule is my state of Minnesota. Our economy has shifted substantially towards the white-collar and technology-based, but it seems as though every new resident in last decade has been a Republican....so much so that we've quickly turned into a purple state with a trendline clearly pointing towards redness. Assuming Amy Klobuchar is this year's Minnesota Senate candidate, it will be a classic Old Minnesota vs. New Minnesota grudge match. It should be an exciting contest, but if Kennedy prevails, it might be a stake in the heart of Minnesota's progressive tradition.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 8, 2005 01:14 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Mark, that is very interesting. I have to admit that I haven't been following things in Minnesota too much. I know that Dayton isn't running again, and he announced that soon enough that I thought it wouldn't be a problem. I figured that when Coleman won a few years ago, that was because Mondale entered so late and he used to be St. Paul mayor. I thought that much of Minnesota's Democratic base had to do with social issues rather than economic ones. And yes, Latourette is in BIG trouble. As you probably know, Ohio has lost more jobs than ANY state in the country due to free trade. The manufacturing job losses in Ohio are truly unbearable. I saw a good thread on DailyKos about Ohio politics yesterday that makes this point more artfully, but this loss of the socially conservative/union worker/white male/ etc.. is why Democrats have struggled in Ohio. The difference between Brown and Latourette on this issue could not be more clear, and if Brown is the candidate, Latourette is likely to get pounded and I believe is VERY beatable. Remember that Geauga,and Ashtabula counties are similar to Lake. Now, I haven't heard much as far as a challenger to Latourette, but it definitely is worth noting.

Posted by: OH-09Dem [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 8, 2005 07:51 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I hate that mud has already been slung. Sherrod Brown champions progressive values.

I leave it to the good voters of Ohio to decide.

Posted by: Daniel [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 8, 2005 08:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Daniel, Sherrod does champion progressive values, that is true. But it is not as simple as leaving it to Ohio voters to decide(see previous posts). It is about leaving the Democratic candidate with the best opportunity to beat Dewine. Sherrod v. Hackett does not do that. I am an Ohio voter, and you don't see me slinging mud. But read this post and you will see some honest analysis.

Posted by: OH-09Dem [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 8, 2005 08:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

OH-09 Dem, I am familiar with the numbers about Ohio job losses. And from everything I've seen the job losses haven't been limited to a few cities, they've touched every corner of the state. Last November, I remember CBS News making a big point on election night of saying that the U.S. county with the highest unemployment rate in the nation was Harrison County, Ohio, near Steubenville....and it went for Bush. To this day, I have no idea how Bush was able to pull off a win in Ohio with the anti-worker policies he proudly embraces. My fear is that if the proverbial "socially conservative/white male/union worker" former Democrat hadn't gotten the message last November when he raced to the polls to re-elect Bush, what in the last year (or in the coming year) would help him change his mind? I guess we won't know for sure until November 7, 2006.

I'm at a loss to explain the transformation of Minnesota. Here, unlike Ohio, the old line "socially conservative/white male/union worker" still votes Democrat. The change is coming from exurban yuppies building vast tracts of houses in was isolated farmland 25 miles from the periphery of metropolitan Minneapolis-St. Paul just 10-12 years ago. Counties in this suburban sprawl zone that went for Bill Clinton twice in the 1990s are now voting for George Bush with more than 60% of the vote, and for state Republicans by even wider margins....and these are among the fastest-growing counties in the nation. There's no easy explanation for this trend, but the metro area that it can be most closely compared to in terms of sprawl and Republican voter growth is Atlanta. Not a comfortable scenario to see transpiring if you're a Democrat.

Extreme GOP margins in these counties in 2002 is what put Norm Coleman in the Senate, an outcome that may have been possible even if Wellstone hadn't been killed 10 days before the election. Republican Senatorial candidate Mark Kennedy represents this part of the state in the House and should pull in boffo numbers there, but I'm expecting popular Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar can churn out wide enough margins in the core metro area to offset it, but it will be a grudge match.

As for Mark Dayton, he's been an outstanding Senator, but is a terrible politician. A couple of embarrassing gaffes effectively eliminated his prospects for re-election, especially against an opponent as formidable as Mark Kennedy. As great of a Senator as he is, I'm glad he decided to retire because he wouldn't have been re-elected.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 8, 2005 09:31 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment