|November 9, 2006|
How Taft Lost Ohio for the Republicans Election
analysis By Fred Taub
President, Boycott Watch
|Summary: Consumers react to in-office scandals by voting out everyone involved, plus everyone seen as associated with those who are involved.|
| As I watched the Ohio election results, I saw
Ohio's Secretary of State Ken Blackwell concede his bid for the Governors
office just after 9 PM, which was before even one vote had been counted by his
own Secretary of State office because 16 polling locations remained open until
9 PM per a judge's order. Minutes later, the national media reported that Mike
DeWine lost his Senate re-election bid despite only 5.25% of the vote having
been counted. Despite the media's active campaigning, the reason the
Republican's lost Ohio was a factor that resurfaced in the news just days
before the election.
In May of this year, I wrote an article about how Ohio is soundly a Republican state and why Democrats in Cuyahoga County, the home of Cleveland and Ohio's largest Democrat population, believe the rest of the state must also be Democrats despite Ohio being a predominately Republican state. I still believe this to be true despite Tuesday's election results.
The reason why Ohio Republicans lost had nothing to do with how well the Democrats campaigned, or President Bush and the war in Iraq - it was a referendum on Governor Taft, scandals in his administration including unreported gifts and a rare coin investment deal gone bad, and most importantly, the Jack Abramoff scandal.
Just days before the election, six-term Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney resigned his seat after pleading guilty to corruption charges in the Jack Abramoff scandal. This brought back a flood of anti-Taft emotions that spilled over to all Republicans associated with Taft. Ney, whose district is strongly conservative and last won re-election with a landslide 66% of the vote, left his supporters so disenfranchised that they elected Democrat Zack Space to office with 62% of the vote, which is very impressive, especially for an opposing party candidate.
At the same time, Republicans who had no affiliation to Taft whatsoever, such as Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette, won big time. In fact, everyone who is associated with Governor Bob Taft lost the election, including Ohio's one-time Attorney General Betty Montgomery who ran a come-back campaign claiming her opponent was soft on crime, which is a traditional concern in Ohio, a state with the death penalty on the books.
Affiliation with Taft was a hurdle Blackwell fought all throughout his campaign, and one he thought he was well past. In campaign stop after campaign stop, Blackwell discussed how he battled Taft and how they did not see eye to eye on issues. In debates, Blackwell who has served as Secretary of State and Treasurer clearly demonstrated a better handle on Ohio specific issues than Strickland, but that should not have been a surprise because Blackwell has been running state offices while Strickland has been focused on the Energy & Commerce and Veterans' Affairs Congressional committees he currently sits on.
Both Governor Taft and former Rep Bob Ney lost the election for the Republicans in Ohio. Taft, whose family has a long history of public service, will probably not seek further public office. Blackwell, who was considered a rising star among Republicans, will most probably still remain in the realm of public service even if he does not run for office again. DeWine's next move is harder to predict, as many pundits were surprised when he was first elected to the Senate, let alone won re-election once, but he will have served 12 years, and will retire from the Senate at the age of 60, so he will probably become a consultant or lobbyist.
As for the Ohio's next statewide election, the Democrats have the momentum in a conservative state, but they may not be able to accomplish much legislatively in Ohio considering the strong Republican majority in the Ohio House by a 53-46 margin and in the Ohio Senate by a 21-12 margin, which proves Ohio is a Republican state. What we learned Tuesday is that Ohio Republicans stand for integrity before party loyalty.
© Fred Taub, 2006
Fred Taub is a boycott consultant and is the President of Boycott Watch (www.boycottwatch.org) which monitors and reports about consumer boycotts, and Divestment Watch (www.divestmentwatch.com) which exposed the illegal nature of the divest-from-Israel campaign as well as why divestment is bad for the US and is anti- peace.
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