From the Wall Street Journal:
Polls suggest they have a chance, even amid a national political climate that favors Republicans. With Republican Sen. George Voinovich retiring, members of President Barack Obama’s party are hopeful that Democrats can triumph in at least one toss-up state in the midterm elections.
“Regardless of who the Democratic nominee is, the November election will be a competitive one,” says Herb Asher, a political scientist at Ohio State University.[...]
“One of the challenges is how [Portman] presents himself to the electorate,” Asher says.
Just 22% of respondents to a recent Pew Research Center survey said they can trust the government in Washington most of the time or almost always; among the lowest measures in 50 years.
Portman will be able to point to the fact that it’s Democrats like Fisher or Brunner who control Congress and the White House. He stepped down as OMB director in 2007 and he hasn’t been a congressman since 2005. And he’s hard at work painting his Democratic challengers as would-be accomplices for what he calls “Washington’s failed policies.”
“Ohio continues to fall behind, but Washington refuses to provide meaningful help,” Portman said in a statement last week, after Ohio’s unemployment rate was reported to rise to 11%. “More than 650,000 Ohioans are out of work, and yet Congress continues to pursue a job-killing tax-and-spend agenda. Both Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Secretary of State [Brunner] willingly support that agenda and will be a rubber stamp for Washington’s failed policies.”
With a little more than six months to go before the general election, both the eventual Democratic nominee and Portman have plenty of time to make their cases. The jobs picture could improve, making Democrats look better. But with Democrats competitive in Ohio even with soaring unemployment, the Buckeye State may buck the trend.
Says OSU’s Asher: “Ohio might be one of those rare states where there’s a chance for a pick-up.”
I really enjoyed Professor Asher’s classes at The OSU, but it’s very unfair to not mention he is a long-time Democrat operative. He was the author of the 2005 failed “Reform Ohio Now” ballot issue to redefine how districts are drawn in Ohio, and is a staunch partisan.Too many professors are quite liberal, but Asher takes an extra step with his involvement and it deserves to always be mentioned.