The results of the OH-02 congressional race are in, and Paul Hackett’s showing, while 2+ points short of an upset victory, strengthens Dem hopes for ’06. As Charlie Cook noted before the vote:
If Schmidt’s victory margin is in double digits, this tells us that there is not much of an anti-GOP wind in Ohio right now. If the margin is say six to nine points for Schmidt, then there is a wind, but certainly no hurricane. A Schmidt win of less than five points should be a very serious warning sign for Ohio Republicans that something is very, very wrong, while a Hackett victory would be a devastating blow to the Ohio GOP.
Kos does a nice job of putting the vote in perspective:
this is probably the only district in Ohio in which Paul would’ve lost…So the state GOP avoids a “devastating blow”, but only by the hair on their chinny chin chin. OH-02 saw the resurgance of the Democratic Party, the GOP had to spend $500K they hadn’t otherwise planned on spending, and a Democratic star is born (next stop for Hackett — statewide elected office). So much for “burying” Hackett…It’s a new day for the Democratic Party, one in which no Republican district is safe.
And DavidNYC adds this at the same Kos link:
tonight’s results represent a tidal wave in Ohio (and perhaps national) politics. In 2004, the Democrat running in OH-02 lost by 44 points. Tonight, the Democrat, Paul Hackett, lost by a mere 4 points – just 4,000 votes out of over 114,000 cast. That’s one-eleventh the prior margin, and that’s fighting against one of the most corrupt state Republican parties in the land.
Dems should take note that Hackett is a fiercely outspoken critic of the President’s leadership of the War in Iraq. As CNN reports:
Hackett, a lawyer and Marine reservist who recently completed a seven-month tour in Iraq, drew national attention to the race with his flame-throwing assaults on Bush. He was especially harsh of the president for his July 2003 “bring ’em on” comment about Iraqi insurgents, saying such talk merely “cheered on the enemy.”
“That’s the most incredibly stupid comment I’ve ever heard a president of the United States make,” Hackett told USA Today.