Tuesday, August 02, 2005
So! Very! Close!!!
Schmidt Wins 2nd District Special Election
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Republican Jean Schmidt held off an unexpectedly tough challenge from Democrat Paul Hackett to win Tuesday's Second Congressional District special election.
With all precincts reporting unofficial returns, Schmidt won with 52 percent of the vote.
Schmidt is the first female to be elected from the Second District.
The campaign to replace Congressman Rob Portman has drawn national attention largely because of Hackett's Iraq war service and his criticism of President Bush.
"We began this race way back in late March, and no one had thought we'd be the focus of the national media or be the so-called first test of the Republican Party and the Bush mandate. Well, ladies and gentleman, we passed that test," Schmidt said.
Yeah, you passed with a D-. You passed with the worst grade possible in a district that went for Bush with 64% a mere few months ago. Sure, you had some drawbacks: facing a veteran (who was slimed by your advisor and again today by Rush Limbaugh), being a crazy person, lying about your connections to one of the most corrupt state parties in the country.... But come on, face it: with the registration advantage you had, combined with the traditional skewing right of special elections, you still nearly lost. (Too tired to link to all of these - check out Atrios' last couple of weeks for details.)
The story continues:
Hackett won mostly rural Adams, Brown, Scioto and Pike counties.
Schmidt, a former state representative, called herself the candidate who best understood the district and held its values with her anti-abortion views, opposition to gay marriage and support for the president.
Ah, the old buggeraboo, gay marriage, once again enters the picture. How long, honestly, can they run on that. I'm already tired of the term, and I'm a big supporter! I think those two words, conjoined together in a Match Game/Password Plus/$25,000 Pyramid kind of way for the past 24 months, are going to finally get a divorce. That is to say, soon enough, when somebody leads Americans with "gaaaaaaaayyyyy...." the automatic response is not going to be ".......maaaaayriage" and the phrase will have lost its power to destroy electoral politics in this country and the GOP will be in serious trouble.
My unsolicited advice to candidates is to treat the issue that way almost every time. "What? You've got to be kidding me. He's trying to win the election by putting the fear of "gay marriage" into the voters in this district? Pshaw! How 2004! Sorry but we're smarter than that here in (insert random conservative district). The "gay marriage" scare turned out to be much ado about nothing -- whatever finally comes about is going to have very little impact on the day-to-day lives of most Americans. Now, let's talk about ..." and that should just about do it.
In any case, the best part of this for yours truly is that it is very, very good news for Christine Cegelis. No longer anywhere in the Midwest can simply being "a Republican" protect you from competition. Voters like smart. They like fearless. And they are getting sick of the lies, the disingenuity, and the general mess of the GOP. Names like Bush, Rove, DeLay, Frist, Hastert, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bolton ... those are the names that will very possibly boost IL-06 to turn blue in a mere 15 months...
Say, why not take this opportunity to give a few bucks to help her get a head start...
Update: Important post by Billmon. The kicker:
Nor is there any reason to be defensive about raising the [fraud] question. After Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, and everything that's come light since then about the Rovian death grip on power, it doesn't seem too tinfoilish to wonder whether the GOP's approach to close elections in Ohio isn't the same as the party's approach to close votes on the House floor -- in which the count is held open until the leadership gets the result it wanted.
Frankly, this should have happened with every election following 2000: We, the National Democratic Party, refuse to participate in elections until we can be assured of greater transparency and fairness. No matter what the results, it's hard to imagine the situation would be worse than it is now.