Run, Bob, Run!
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that John Hritz won't challenge Senator Mike DeWine in next year's Republican primary for U.S. Senate, but will instead opt to challenge Treasurer Jennette Bradley (R-Columbus). (link via DeFeat DeWine) However, Senator DeWine may still face a primary challenger from the conservative wing of his party. The Enquirer reports that former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen (R-
Rep. McEwen is another Republican who would be fun to run against. He was damaged by the House check-bouncing scandal of the early 1990's and lost his 6th District congressional seat in 1992. In 1993, when 2nd District Congressman Willis Gradison (R-Cincinnati) retired, Congressman McEwen carpetbagged into the 2nd District, but lost in the Republican primary to Rob Portman (R-Terrace Park). Mr. McEwen lived in Virginia for the next 12 years, where he worked as a lobbyist. When Congressman Portman announced his resignation earlier this year, Mr. McEwen hastily bought a condominium in Anderson Township and ran again, but lost in the Republican Primary to former State Rep. Jean "Tracy Flick" Schmidt (R-Miami Twp.) Senator DeWine would be tough, but not impossible, for a Democrat to beat in a general election next year. However, if the Republicans nominate a check-bouncing, carpetbagging has-been, the Democrats stand a good chance of picking up the seat.
The Democrats need a candidate. The Vindicator reports that U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) has declined to run for the Senate next year. (link via DeFeat DeWine) The Cincinnati Post reports that Major Paul Hackett (D-Indian Hill) might run, while Bill Callahan of Callahan's Cleveland Diary and Councilman Frank Szollosi of Szollosi Toledo tout U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur as a potential candidate. Both Major Hackett and Rep. Kaptur have the potential to be formidable statewide candidates.
Earlier this summer, Major Hackett ran an extremely impressive race for Congress, carrying 48% of the vote in a district that usually goes for Republicans by at least 2 to 1. I've seen Major Hackett on television a few times, and I was very impressed with his charisma. Additionally, as this map from Grow Ohio shows, Major Hackett received contributions from all over the country in his recent congressional race. Finally, as I've mentioned before, I really like Major Hackett's economically moderate and socially libertarian views, especially his opposition to gun control. Major Hackett's pro-Second Amendment views work in his favor because pro-gun voters often are single-issue voters. Against Senator DeWine, Major Hackett would have an advantage with pro-gun voters as a result of his support for gun rights and the senator's opposition to a bill that would shield gun manufacturers from lawsuits. We Democrats could do a lot worse than to nominate an affable, moderate, gun-toting war veteran with a nationwide fundraising base.
Rep. Kaptur is extremely popular in her Toledo-based district,which she has represented for nearly 24 years. She gained some national attention in the early 1990's when she was one of the leaders in the fight against NAFTA. While I don't always agree with Rep. Kaptur's views on international trade, they could resonate in a state that has been slow to recover from the most recent recession. I'd be surprised if Rep. Kaptur leaves a safe congressional seat for an uncertain statewide bid, but if she does, she could be formidable.
Against Senator DeWine, either Major Hackett or Rep. Kaptur would be an underdog, but I wouldn't count either of them out. Against Rep. McEwen, I think either of them would be a clear favorite to pick up the seat. Run, Bob, run!