The PJ Tatler

Romney 'Wins' Ohio, and a Shocker in OH-02

Mitt Romney’s “win” in Ohio of course isn’t the kind you take into office. It’s one where you say “I got more votes than anyone else (barely), and probably more delegates too. Let’s move on to the next states.”

To me, Ohio proved that “not Romney” is still leading the pack. Why anyone should be impressed that a candidate who has been in essence campaigning for five years, outspent his opponents by as much as 6-1 in the Buckeye State (I’m hearing that the ratio was actually higher), and only survived because he had a super-PAC which serially lied so badly and baldly about Santorum’s record that you would have thought Romney was running against Olympia Snowe, is a complete mystery.

Newt had a bad night in Ohio and I believe everywhere else except his “home” state of Georgia. If he really feels that a Romney nomination is as problematic as he claims, he should drop out. I would expect that most of his support would go to Santorum, especially if he endorses him.

Following up on most of the other races I was tracking, and supplementing a bit:

  • The big, big upset of the night is Brad Wenstrup’s defeat of three-plus-term incumbent Jean Schmidt in OH-02 (which in a shameless plug, I believe I called before anyone else). I warned earlier today that “An upset seems very unlikely, but not impossible.” What Wenstrup did was concentrate on the populous areas of Hamilton County and Clermont County (Schmidt’s home county), achieving 8,000- and 2,500-vote margins, respectively, while totally ignoring the other rural counties, where Schmidt’s overwhelming margins couldn’t make up the difference. I also noted earlier today that I thought Schmidt “hasn’t campaigned aggressively.” I think she also underestimated the impact of redistricting, and that she may not have pursued the support of those who had never seen her name on an election ballot aggressively enough. And yes, Wenstrup fought dirty, but that’s been the Schmidt-haters’ style for almost seven years. She should have been ready for it — and wasn’t.
  • Marcy Kaptur defeated Dennis Kucinich in a face-off of two veteran congressional Democrats. In that same district, “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher won the Republican nomination in a tightly contested race, and will have a difficult time unseating Kaptur. If there’s hope, it’s in the fact that Wurzelbacher, who is from the Toledo area, somehow did really well in Cleveland’s Cuyaghoga County (yes, the district is a disgraceful example of gerrymandering), and that a large plurality of residents of the redrawn district have never voted for Kaptur.
  • In Columbus, former Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy was defeated in a comeback attempt.

It will be a while before the State Central Committee races I mentioned this afternoon get sorted out.