Republican Jean Schmidt Wins Ohio Congressional Race
Republican Jean Schmidt won the special election for Rob Portman’s seat, defeating Iraq vet Paul Hackett.
A Republican former state lawmaker has claimed a seat in Congress 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. But Democrats said they, too, had reason to celebrate Ã¢€” pointing to the close race as a sign of promise heading into next year’s midterm elections.
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.
Democrats had viewed the race as a bellwether for 2006, saying even a strong showing by Hackett in such a heavily GOP district would give them a lift. “There’s no safe Republican district. You can run, but you cannot hide,” said U.S. Rep. Rahm Emmanuel of Illinois, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Schmidt, 53, will replace Republican Rob Portman, who stepped down this year after being named U.S. trade representative by Bush. Portman held the seat for 12 years, consistently winning with more than 70 percent of the vote in the Cincinnati-area district.
If the Democrats want to take comfort from a four percentage point loss, they’re welcome to do so. There is no second place in politics; there are only winners and losers.