US HOUSE Ohio 2nd DistThe 2nd District is a heavily Republican district. The previous Congressman from the 2nd, the late Republican Rob Portmann, regularly won reelection with 70% of the vote. President Bush won the district with 64%.
753 precincts of 753 reporting
JEAN SCHMIDT 57,974 52%
PAUL HACKETT 54,401 48%
via WCPO TV
Democrats didn't win the seat, however, the race did prove that Democrats can challenge Republicans in their own backyard. The Republicans dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race in order to "bury" Hackett for having gumption to challenge the Republicans on their own turf.
Hackett got in the race knowing it was a long shot. It had been a Republican seat for many years, before the "new" Republican leadership took over. Even still, he received 40% of the vote.
Hackett proved that a tough Democrat with energy and smarts can get the attention of voters, even in districts the Democratic Party thought was a lost cause. The national support he garnered shows that the 50 state campaign can work.
If the Democrats put as much energy and money into the tough races as they do for the easy races, they can force the Republicans to defend their ground. That will take energy and money away from other campaigns. The Republicans did it to the Dems, why shouldn't they return the favor. The Republican candidate for the 2nd, Jean Schmidt, merely echoed President Bush's talking points. When she was forced to face questions that didn't have pre-scripted answers, she fell apart.
Public opinion is continuing to move against the President and the Republicans. The Democrats would do well to tap into the public's sentiment and run candidates in local races to take their message to the people. The national elections, the President most of all, is won by a handful of people in districts all across the country. Improving the Democratic showing by 15+ points in those districts can sway national elections.
The Democratic Party needs to follow the lead of some of the new Democratic activists and get out of D.C. and onto people's front porches.