DeWine's re-election chances stronger with no declared Democratic challenger
Bevy of candidates vye for open Missouri House seat
By Stuart Rothenberg
March 29, 1999
WASHINGTON (March 29) -- Freshman Sen. Mike DeWine is frequently identified as one of the vulnerable senators up for re-election in 2000. But while Democratic Senate challengers have started to line up in Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan, Ohio Democrats are still trying to find someone to take on DeWine.
A former prosecutor, state senator, congressman and lieutenant governor, DeWine lost a Senate race against John Glenn (D) in 1992 before coming back two years later to win the seat of retiring Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D). He defeated Metzenbaum's son-in-law, Joel Hyatt, 53 percent to 39 percent, no doubt helped by the huge national GOP wave that also benefited Republicans in Ohio.
While some Democrats hoped to woo 1998 gubernatorial nominee Lee Fisher into the race, most of the recent attention has focused on a couple of members of Congress -- Reps. Ted Strickland and Marcy Kaptur -- and state Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick.
Rep. Sherrod Brown, who served two terms as Ohio secretary of state and was heavily recruited by party insiders, has announced he will not challenge DeWine. He will remain in the House in the hope that his party will pick up enough seats next year to be in the majority.
Strickland, 57, a Methodist minister, psychologist and college professor, has been running for his House seat since 1976. He lost that race and three other times before winning in 1992. He lost it in 1994 but came back to regain it in 1996. Last year, he knocked off GOP challenger Nancy Hollister, the lieutenant governor, rather easily, 57 percent-43 percent.
Strickland's ability to win in a GOP-leaning district in Southeast Ohio has some Democrats thinking he would be a good statewide candidate. But other insiders wonder about his fund-raising potential and predict that he'll try to hang on in his 6th C.D. rather than risk his political future against DeWine.
Kaptur has represented a portion of northwest Ohio, including the city of Toledo, in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1982. She is an urban planner who served on the Carter White House's Domestic Policy staff.
Kaptur, a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, is perhaps best known as an ally of organized labor and an opponent of recent international trade agreements. She was a leading critic and opponent of NAFTA, GATT, and Most-Favored-Nation status for China.
Kaptur hasn't had anything resembling a close race since her first re-election, in 1984, and she won her ninth term last year with 81 percent of the vote. She doesn't raise a lot of money for her races because she doesn't need to.
Resnick, 59, was appointed assistant Lucas County prosecutor in 1964 and was elected judge of the Toledo Municipal Court in 1975. In 1982, she was elected judge of the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals, and six years later she was elected state supreme court justice. She was re-elected to that post in 1994, and she would be up for re-election next year.
Resnick has not said whether she is interested in the race, but other Democrats say she is seriously looking at a possible run against DeWine.
Democratic insiders acknowledge that '94 loser Hyatt is considering moving back to Ohio from California in order to seek a re-match. That prospect does not worry Republicans, who believe that DeWine could defeat Hyatt handily again.
Democrats insist that DeWine's vote for impeachment, his overall conservatism (including his pro-life views), and some potential ethics questions give them an opening for the fall. But the senator is looking stronger each day, and each day the Democrats are still looking for a candidate.
Missouri C.D. 2
With Rep. Jim Talent (R-Missouri) running for governor, a bevy of candidates has already entered the race to replace him in the House of Representatives.
The latest entry into the race is Barbara Cooper, who has served as Talent's district director. She joined St. Louis County Executive Gene McNary, GOP state senators Franc Flotron and Steve Ehlmann, and state Rep. Todd Akin in the race for the Republican nomination. Two Democrats are also in the race, including state Sen. Ted House.
McNary is probably the biggest name of the bunch. He lost the 1984 Republican Senate nomination to John Ashcroft in 1984.
The 2nd C.D. includes St. Louis's western suburbs and is usually comfortably Republican. Bill Clinton lost the district in 1992 and 1996. Talent was re-elected last year with 70 percent of the vote, and two years earlier he defeated former congresswoman Joan Kelly Horn (D) 61 percent-37 percent. Talent won the seat by beating Horn 50 percent-48 percent in 1992.
Given the district's past political performance, the eventual Republican nominee will be the clear favorite.
Monday, March 29, 1999
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