Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ohio Dem Leads In Senate Race + Why The Foley Scandal Is Still Politically Relevant

Democratic challenger Sherrod Brown has staked himself to a 12-point lead in his Senate race against GOP incumbent Mike DeWine. This double-digit lead for Brown is a surprise, given that the race had been essentially tied for the last few months.

Remember, Ohio is analogous with the rest of the country as far as elections go (we all remember '04, don't we?) so the Dems can take heart with Brown shoving DeWine aside in their race. Although the Foely scandal and the other bevy of bad news for the GOP has quieted some, the fallout from those events remain. GOP insiders still believe that they will certainly lose the House and possibly the Senate. The media may trumpet the fact that the Foley scandal is now the least important issue for voters in this election. That's right; voters have pushed the episode aside.

But one must remember the "Swift Boat" campaign against John Kerry from the '04 presidential election. That dubious campaign made headlines for only a few weeks, like the Foley scandal. After getting huge coverage time from the media and interest from voters, the initial chargers against Kerry were later proven to be, if not false, very sketchy. The SB campaign then slowly vanished from the election scene, with voters professing to not care about any of the issues raised about Kerry. But he lost the election. His slim lead disappeared when the Swiftboaters came onto the scene and it never came back. Voters may not have considered the SB attack important after its initial burst of publicity, but, after backing away from voting for Kerry, they never returned to the fold.

This could play out again in 2006 with the Foley scandal. Although the issue has lost importance with the public, its effects are still being felt. The GOP is still down in the polls, GOP candidates are actually losing ground, and the overall election prospects of Republicans looks very grim. Until the voters that abandoned the Republicans after the Foley story broke head back to the GOP ranks, the Foley scandal will have an impact on the midterms.


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