In a Southern Ohio congressional district that Republicans normally win by 50 percent margins, Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran running on an anti-war platform, has made it a nail-biter in a special election. Even a close loss is a huge victory for the Dems in a district that’s normally not close to being competitive… and portends big trouble for Republicans in 2006. This is huge!
Hacket down 49,681–48,811 with 662 of 753 precincts reporting. This is likely going to an automatic recount, and considering Ohio’s problems, anything could happen.
Well, Schmidt beat Hackett 52% to 48% in a district President Bush won with 64% of the vote in 2004. As DailyKOS reported, the Cook Political Report had made the following pre-election analysis:
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.
The Ohio GOP avoids a “devastating blow,” but Hackett’s strong showing represented an anti-war, anti-Bush vote from a traditional Republican stronghold. 2006 is looking pretty good.