Major Hackett Gives ‘Em A Firefight In Ohio
Well, well, well…
For all those who say that Democrats can’t compete in Southern Ohio, I give you Major Paul Hackett, a Dem and a veteran of the war in Iraq who today took a district (OH-2) that went to the GOP last time around by a margin of 44% — and a promise by the National Republican Campaign Committee to “bury him” — and turned it into a squeaker:
A Republican former state lawmaker claimed a seat in Congress on Tuesday by narrowly defeating an Iraq war veteran who drew national attention to the race with his military service and a series of harsh attacks on President Bush.
With all precincts reporting, Jean Schmidt had 52 percent, or 57,974 votes, compared with Democrat Paul Hackett’s 48 percent, or 54,401 votes.
Schmidt’s margin of victory amounted to about 3,500 votes out of more than 112,000 cast.
Schmidt, 53, billed herself as an experienced leader more in tune with the Cincinnati-area district. She is the first woman ever elected to Congress from the 2nd District.
Hackett, 43, was trying to become the first Iraq war combat veteran in Congress and the first Democrat to win the conservative district in three decades.
A 4 point margin! For a district that tilts so heavily GOP, that’s pretty amazing.
Over on Daily Kos, Kos explains why this is a bad omen for the GOP in Ohio.
My hope is that this isn’t the last time we hear from Major Hackett — I was impressed by his forthrightness, and his willingness to gore some sacred cows among even his fellow Democrats (such as his very strongly libertarian position on gun control). He has said that if he lost the election he’d return to serve another tour in Iraq. I admire his dedication to the military — but we need men like Major Hackett in Washington now more than ever, and since this was only a special election (the incumbent, Rob Portman, was named as the new U.S. trade representative, which forced a special election to fill his seat for the rest of this Congress), there’ll be another bite at this particular apple coming up before you know it.
Either way you go, Major, thanks for your service and leadership — and let me know if you decide to run again, I’ll come back to Cincinnati and work for you 😉