Saturday, November 26, 2005

''Governor race may set course for nation''

"Lines are drawn as Ohio prepares for '06 showdown; experts say win here may buoy victorious party in battle for White House---Next year's race for Ohio governor hinges on just how much voters care about this year's scandals in Columbus.

Democrats see the Republican troubles as their best chance in more than a decade to reclaim state offices, while Republican candidates are divorcing themselves from the past to maintain their 16-year stronghold. Both sides are predicting an expensive, high-stakes battle that will gather plenty of national attention. And Ohio voters' choice of red state or blue state in 2006 will serve to set the stage for the 2008 presidential race.

Herb Asher, retired political science professor at Ohio State University and an expert in Ohio politics, put it this way: ``The road to the White House in 2008 goes through Ohio in 2006. This will be among the most significant statewide elections in the country. This will be a pitched battle.''

National focus

The troops already are parachuting in. The Democratic National Committee already has paid $500,000 for the salaries of five additional staffers in Columbus -- four field organizers and an extra communications person -- as an investment toward 2008. ``The way we put money in is to pay competent, qualified people from Ohio to be in Ohio for a couple of years,'' said former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, now chairman of the DNC. ``We have five people on the ground now. We think we're going to win Ohio top to bottom.''

And like a general preparing for a fight, Dean is planning a visit to Ohio this winter to survey the battleground. ``Politics in Ohio is pretty rotten and I think people are going to want that changed,'' he said."-excerpted from the story in the Akron Beacon Journal (OH).

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