Sunday, October 15, 2006

 

Rout fallout: Nat'l GOP writes off DeWine

. . . and, from what we understand, Pryce may be next: From Monday's NYTimes:
Senior Republican leaders have concluded that Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio, a pivotal state in this year’s fierce midterm election battles, is likely to be heading for defeat and are moving to reduce financial support for his race and divert party money to other embattled Republican senators, party officials said.

The decision to effectively write off Mr. DeWine’s seat, after a series of internal Republican polls showed him falling behind his Democratic challenger, is part of a fluid series of choices by top leaders in both parties as they set the strategic framework of the campaign’s final three weeks, signaling, by where they are spending television money and other resources, the Senate and House races where they believe they have the best chances of success.

. . .

The decision involving Mr. DeWine offers the most compelling evidence so far that Republicans are circling their wagons around a smaller group of races, effectively conceding some Senate and House seats with the goal of retaining at least a thin margin of control when the 110th Congress is seated next January. Democrats need to win 6 seats to capture the Senate and 15 seats to win the House on Nov. 7.

. . .

The Republican National Committee and the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee have already spent $4.6 million on his race; party officials said they concluded that there were now simply more opportune races to focus on.

. . .

Republicans noted that Mr. DeWine, in addition to having a sizable financial advantage, was a well-liked figure in Ohio who handily won his first two terms in the Senate and still had enough time to recover, even though recent internal party polls showed him lagging badly.

Republicans said they remained confident that the party’s considerable financial advantage would allow them to hold back a Democratic onslaught over the next three weeks, and they said they were preparing to spend significantly to bulk up any Republican who their polling over the next few days suggested might be faltering.

. . .

One Republican Party official said Mr. DeWine’s continued problems in Ohio had persuaded them to in effect rebuild a firewall that has now partly collapsed, and to find a state to replace it.

The decision about Mr. DeWine’s seat came after recent internal polls showed Mr. DeWine’s Democratic challenger, Representative Brown, jumping to a large lead. Mr. Brown’s surge came despite a barrage of Republican advertisements intended to portray him as weak on national security — the very line of attack that had given party officials confidence earlier this year that Mr. DeWine would be re-elected.

Normally, a party would be averse to scaling back its help for a senator in a state with as many as five competitive Congressional races also on the ballot. But in this case, Ohio Republicans said, Mr. DeWine and Republican Congressional candidates face the added problem of being dragged down this November by the party’s candidate for governor, J. Kenneth Blackwell, who polls show is facing a double-digit loss to the Democrat, Representative Ted Strickland.

. . .

“When you look at the polling numbers, they don’t want to vote for the Democrat,” Mr. Forti said. “Believe me, we are not going to waste two million bucks if we don’t think we have a shot.”

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