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August 2, 2005
Let The Lawsuits Begin

In Ohio's second Congressional district, the GOP has apparently held the seat against a well-funded challenge from a Democrat who recently returned from Iraq. Jean Schmidt beat Paul Hackett by four points and 3,500 votes, a margin that in ordinary circumstances would suggest that recounts would be pointless. However, given the high profile assigned to this race by Democratic activists trying their best to elect an anti-war veteran to Congress, Ohio's voters should expect more of the same hysterical charges of election stealing that we saw after the 2004 election.

Barbara Boxer will be warming her voice up for the morning talk shows after her first cup of coffee, I presume.

Lori at Polipundit has followed this story much more closely than I have, for reasons which I'll cover in a moment. She says that the media will spin this as a loss for Bush, even though she sees it as a win, or a hold at the least. Perhaps. However, Hackett did come a lot closer than Kerry did in 2004 in this same district (Bush 64-36); the Democratic full-court press had its effect. I'm not sure anyone could make a case for anything better than a draw here.

In the end, it doesn't matter much, because in 2006 this district simply won't get the national attention it drew here. The Democrats will not have the resources to dedicate to this one single seat that they did in an off year special election. Without the overwhelming focus on this rock-solid conservative seat, it will revert to a fairly easy GOP race next year -- especially if the Democrats foul the atmosphere with a slew of pointless lawsuits.

The Blogometer -- a great new service (and free!) from the National Journal -- notes that MyDD noted my lack of interest in this race, although Chris complimented me in being effective at influencing races. It's true; I didn't have much of a dog in this race. Congressional races tend to be more about the local politics in the district rather than national issues, a fact which the Democrats discovered tonight. Since I have little information about the district, I decided to keep my mouth shut and just follow the coverage during the stretch run. Part of building an influential voice is knowing when to use it, and when to let others use theirs and stay silent.

Addendum: Michelle Malkin notes that the stolen-election meme has already arisen at the once-sane Talking Points Memo, courtesy of Josh Marshall:

Late Update: Schmidt pulling ahead late. Did the call go out to Diebold?

However, it gets worse at the usually-rational MyDD (in the comments, not the posts):

In a 50-50 race, the last county reporting, after a huge time gap, is the Republican stronghold. They blame the delay on the WEATHER (which can't be too different from the other counties) and their website goes offline before they finish the count.

Does anybody DOUBT that something's rotten in Clermont?

Hackett must have observers there, and I hope they're taking notes. We need to be ready for rapid reaction to any hints of what the GOP pulled tonight.

The Clermont County Board of Elections has to go under the microscope, starting NOW. ...

"Just reported on local news here in Cincinnati (channel 19)that there were "voting irregularities" (*channel 19's words not mine) in Clermont & that the remaining precincts were being counted by hand." ...

First time post on My friend is the assistant financial director for Hackett and for the past week or so has been calling me to do "opposition research". I simply checked the blogs and forwarded the info, they loved it down there so thanks for all the comments from everyone. Even though my friend is currently at the Hackett party, she is again calling me for the numbers and info, I second the notion that mydd has the best election coverage.

More importantly, can anyone tell me how 50% of a county reports at the exact same time, and how the other half sits around waiting?
PS does anyone have more details on those "voting iregularities?

No lead holds any meaning to the True Believers, and they'll all be hiring lawyers in the morning, unless Hackett concedes soon. Failing that, we'll be hearing Max Cleland comparisons for the next couple of months. Feh.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 2, 2005 10:37 PM

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