Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Close, But No Cigar - This Time

If you're following the now-decided Hackett/Schmidt race in Ohio - and who isn't? - it seems even the Reps couldn't cheat the results enough to make it a landslide.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

The apparent win by Republican Jean Schmidt in Tuesday's 2nd Congressional District election was in no way shocking, but the fact that Democrat Paul Hackett made it a very close election is nothing short of astounding.
Carl Forti, a spokesman for the NRCC, said last Thursday that the party had decided to "bury'' Hackett because of a quote that day in USA Today in which Hackett said he was willing to go to Iraq and serve for "the son of a bi - - - in the White House."

One of the most endearing qualities of Marines is their use of tact and diplomatic language.

And don't miss Billmon:

Paul Hackett easily beat my expectations, as well as those of the Washington punditburo, in Ohio's special congressional election yesterday. He did not, however, beat his opponent, Jean Schmidt, who will now take her rightful place with the other GOP heel clickers in our Chamber of People's Deputies.

If Schmidt's victory margin is in double digits, this tells us that there is not much of an anti-GOP wind in Ohio right now. If the margin is say six to nine points for Schmidt, then there is a wind, but certainly no hurricane. A Schmidt win of less than five points should be a very serious warning sign for Ohio Republicans that something is very, very wrong, while a Hackett victory would be a devastating blow to the Ohio GOP.

He then goes on at length about Clermont County's political machinations, you should pardon the pun.

Of course, none of this proves, or even makes a circumstantial case, that yesterday's election was stolen. Maybe the inhabitants of Clerrmont County really are just unusually witless in their devotion to the GOP cause. I live in a Republican machine county myself, so I know how that goes.

But it's still rather remarkable how often the lightning seems to strike in Clermont -- and at the just the right time, producing just the right amount of votes for an otherwise endangered GOP candidate. Like I said, I'd feel a lot better about it if the party stalwarts who run the county's elections were describing the inner workings of the system to a grand jury -- under oath.

Good point, 'Mon. I wonder if Fitzgerald will be free soon...

Nor is there any reason to be defensive about raising the question. After Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, and everything that's come light since then about the Rovian death grip on power, it doesn't seem too tinfoilish to wonder whether the GOP's approach to close elections in Ohio isn't the same as the party's approach to close votes on the House floor -- in which the count is held open until the leadership gets the result it wanted.

Personally, my posting style does not admit to the concept of "planning ahead", but Billmon's sure does. Go read.

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