Ohio Democrats Make Nice to Unseat DeWine

By Chris Cillizza
Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Don't expect Paul Hackett to be taking any vacations with Rep. Sherrod Brown this summer, but the two Ohio Democrats have buried their differences for the fall.

Hackett, a veteran of the Iraq war who has become a favorite of liberal bloggers and the Democratic "net roots," endorsed Brown's Ohio Senate candidacy yesterday -- five months after leaving the race himself.

"Maybe I don't like every issue Sherrod Brown believes in, but we agree on 95 percent of the issues," Hackett said. "Maybe I am not going to go fishing with him, but he shares my core concerns."

Hackett's support for Brown is an about-face from some sour comments he made after dropping from the race. At the time he alleged that Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) had strong-armed him out of the contest, and he dismissed Brown as a "very liberal, Democratic, long-standing U.S. congressman." To Mother Jones magazine, he suggested that Brown might be fitted with a "dunce cap."

Hackett said his change of heart came Thursday while he was mowing his lawn. He called Brown, apologized for the way he exited the race and offered to help. The two men met in Cincinnati over the weekend to hash out the particulars of an endorsement.

National Democrats saw a public pronouncement by Hackett as essential to unifying Ohio Democrats behind Brown as he seeks to unseat Republican Sen. Mike DeWine in the fall.

Schumer praised Hackett' s "statesman-like act" and added, "This is the kind of unity that the DSCC has encouraged in Democratic campaigns, and that will help pave the way for victory in 2006."

McCain Goes A-Courtin'

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shared a stage with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush last night, the latest example of his courtship of establishment Republicans in the run-up to his planned 2008 presidential campaign.

The two men came together in Orlando to raise money for the Florida Republican Party as it seeks to keep control of the governor's office (Bush is term-limited) and oust Sen. Bill Nelson (D) this fall.

"Senator McCain realizes the importance of the state in national politics and the importance of holding Republican control of the state," said Jeff Sadosky, communications director for the state party. "Florida Republicans are constantly impressed when he speaks."

On Friday, McCain will travel to Iowa to raise money for Mike Whalen, the party's nominee in the 1st District open-seat race. McCain skipped the Iowa caucuses in 2000, but advisers say he is certain to compete there in 2008.

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