- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 4, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Embattled Sen. Mike DeWine spent the last weekend before elections Tuesday attempting to rally disenchanted Republicans and undecided swing voters.

Most polls show the once-popular Ohio Republican losing to Democrat Rep. Sherrod Brown. The most recent survey, conducted by Reuters/Zogby, shows Mr. DeWine trailing Mr. Brown, 49 percent to 42 percent. Mr. DeWine’s seat has been targeted by Democrats as one of the six they hope to pick up Tuesday in order to gain control of the Senate.

Mr. DeWine wrapped up a brisk day of campaigning Friday with a stop at a local pizza restaurant, where he talked with diners and later sat down with family and members of his staff. “This is fun,” he told a group of supporters posing for pictures.

When asked about his opponent, Mr. DeWine told a diner, “This guy is so far to the left,” citing Mr. Brown’s record in the House of supporting tax increases.

Mr. DeWine has been the victim of a state Republican Party in disarray, the political drag of the Iraq war and a weak Ohio economy.

Last August, the state’s Republican governor, Bob Taft, pleaded no contest to charges of accepting illegal gifts. The candidate chosen to replace him, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, trails Democrat Ted Strickland by an average of 21.4 percent, according to RealClear Politics. Republican Rep. Bob Ney resigned from Congress on Friday after pleading guilty to influence-peddling charges in connection with disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Mr. DeWine angered some conservative voters last year by joining the “Gang of 14,” a collection of seven Democrat and seven Republican senators who forged a compromise on judicial nominees. The compromise led to a number of previously stalled conservative judges winning confirmation, but sources close to Mr. DeWine acknowledge he must address the issue at nearly every campaign stop.

“He’s lucky it didn’t blow up in his face,” Wilmington resident Tin Inwood said. Nonetheless, Mr. Inwood said he plans to vote for Mr. DeWine on Tuesday. “Even if you’re mad at Mike, you have to look 10 to 20 years down the road,” he said. “We could have two more Supreme Court vacancies open up before 2008.”

Despite the low poll numbers, Mr. DeWine has received a number of high-profile endorsements from the press, including the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch and 22 other state papers.

In its endorsement, the Plain Dealer wrote, “Were it not for failures and scandals within his party, Republican Sen. Mike DeWine likely would be coasting to the third-term victory his diligent, bipartisan labors have earned him.”

Mr. DeWine also has received endorsements from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Cincinnati Right to Life and the Latino Coalition.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide