Run, John, Run!
U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville) is in a similar position to the one Frank Lausche was in 37 years ago. Senator DeWine was elected to the Senate in a landslide in 1994, and easily re-elected in 2000. However, his party's base is not pleased with him. Gun control opponents are not happy with Senator DeWine's opposition to a bill that would shield gun manufacturers from lawsuits. Social conservatives are angry over Senator DeWine's role in the judicial filibuster compromise.
Now, like Senator Lausche in 1968, Senator DeWine may face a primary opponent. The Cincinnati Post and Columbus Business First both report that former AK Steel President John Hritz has formed an exploratory committee and is considering challenging Senator DeWine in next year's primary. The Mockingbird has a copy of Mr. Hritz's press release. The Mockingbird also states:
DeWine is in deep trouble because he's staked out general election territory, NOT primary territory. In other words, primary voters will turn out in droves for Hritz and DeWine can't possibly run to the right, though he might try.
I hope Mr. Hritz runs. If he does, he just might pull off the primary upset. The "traditional values" crowd will turn out in droves to vote for Ken Blackwell for governor. Mr. Hritz might be able to ride in on Secretary Blackwell's coattails. If Mr. Hritz were to win the primary, he'd give the Democrats a good chance to pick up the seat. A moderate, well known incumbent like Senator DeWine is tough in a general election. With more extreme views and a name that has never appeared on a statewide ballot, Mr. Hritz would be a lot easier for a Democrat to beat. Do the Democrats have a candidate who can take advantage of this situation the way Attorney General Saxbe did in 1968?