Paul Hackett announced today that he will challenge Republican Mike Dewine
Hackett aims for Senate Democrat
will challenge DeWine in 2006 election
By David Hammer The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Paul Hackett, the Iraq War veteran who was hailed by
national Democrats for his narrow loss this summer in a heavily Republican
House district, will challenge Sen. Mike DeWine in 2006.
"Paul Hackett is running for U.S. Senate," said spokesman David Woodruff,
who served as Hackett's campaign manager in his special election campaign
against Rep. Jean Schmidt.
Hackett is planning to officially announce his decision Oct. 24 in his
hometown of Cincinnati, then begin a bus tour through Ohio, Woodruff said
Hackett wasn't immediately available for comment. He was flying back from
Washington on Monday after meeting with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid
of Nevada, who gave Hackett the confidence to run, Woodruff said.
"He found overwhelming support from the leaders of the Democratic Party,
campaign organizations and staff," Woodruff said.
Hackett drew national attention after receiving 48 percent of the vote
Aug. 2 in southern Ohio's 2nd District, which voted 64 percent for President
Bush last year. Schmidt and other Republicans have said a summer special
election shouldn't be considered as a bellwether.
Also Monday, Rep. Sherrod Brown's office said he is again considering a
run at DeWine. Brown, a Democrat from Lorain, was initially considering a
run for Ohio governor, but then ruled out both gubernatorial and senatorial
campaigns in favor of defending his U.S. House seat.
Denny White, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said DeWine, a
Republican seeking a third term in 2006, is vulnerable to challenges from
Brown or Hackett.
DeWine's campaign manager, Matt Carle, declined to answer questions about
DeWine's ability to defend his seat against suddenly competitive
Democrats might depend on his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee,
which puts him at the center of the latest Supreme Court nomination process.
DeWine and his 17 committee mates will hold confirmation hearings for
White House counsel Harriet Miers, announced Monday by President Bush as his
nominee to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
"Whenever a legislator can show leadership and influence in something as
significant as a Supreme Court nomination, it certainly has to offer him
credibility in re-election," said Tom Wiseman, a political science
instructor at Bowling Green State University and the former mayor of
Defiance in northwest Ohio.
White isn't so sure that voters will focus on the nomination process
because of the investment and ethics scandals involving Ohio's
Republican-controlled state government.
"At this time, (the Supreme Court) is not driving the political arena
here," White said, adding DeWine could have to deal with fallout from
decisions Miers and recently confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts make.
"If they start getting into people's personal lives and freedoms, I'm
sure it's going to affect Sen. DeWine," White said.
In an interview Monday after the nomination was announced, DeWine gave
Miers a strong endorsement.
"The fact that she will bring diversity to the court, in that she's not a
sitting judge, is a good thing," DeWine said.
Wall Street Journal is running an interactive Zogby poll and so far has
Hackett ahead of DeWine by 8.3 points. Hopefully he will pull this one off after
the close race with Jean Schmidtt.