|November 3, 2006-Ohio, the most contested state of the 2004 presidential
campaign, is again a center of attention in the 2006 mid-term elections.
At stake are the governorship and other statewide offices, the U.S. Senate
seat now held by Sen. Mike Dewine (R), all 18 U.S. House seats, a number
of judicial offices, all 99 State House seats and 17 of the 33 State Senate
seats, and four ballot issues [web].
Campaigns have been trying to reach targeted subsets of the state's 7,851,499
registered voters. Voting has been going on for a while already;
Ohio has in-person absentee voting with no excuse required starting 35
days before November 7.
Democrats have not won statewide here since President Bill Clinton carried the state in 1996, and the last time an Ohio Democrat was elected in a non-judicial race was 16 years ago. Republicans hold both U.S. Senate seats, 11 U.S. House seats to 6 for the Democrats plus the 1 vacant seat formerly held by Bob Ney. They have solid majorities in the state legislature: 22 to 11 in the Senate and 60 to 39 in the House.
However, Democrats appear well positioned to make major gains on November 7. Republicans, who face a challenging cycle nationally, have a particularly difficult environment in Ohio. Gov. Bob Taft (R), first elected in 1998, pleaded no contest to ethics violations in August 2005 and his job approval rating has not climbed above 20 percent since. Congressman Bob Ney (R-18) was caught up in the Abramoff scandal; on October 13 he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements and on November 3 he finally resigned from Congress.
In this climate Democrats have hopes of winning the governorship and the U.S. Senate seat, and of picking up as many as five U.S. House seats. Republicans concede the difficult terrain but suggest Democrats may be overconfident.
|Copyright © 2006 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action||