NPR logo Days of DeWine and Losses

Days of DeWine and Losses

Blame less the sins of the father, and more his own personal behavior, for Pat DeWine's defeat. hide caption

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Unlike Andrew, Scoop and Jesse, this is one Jackson who never actually ran for president. hide caption

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Fifty-three years ago today, Sen. Richard Russell (D) of Georgia was named his state's favorite-son candidate for president. hide caption

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Q: Was Sen. Mike DeWine's (R-Ohio) participation in the "Gang of 14" sellout [regarding judicial filibusters in the Senate] the reason his son was defeated Tuesday in his bid for Congress? — David Ross, Yonkers, N.Y.

A: Let's just say it didn't help. Many conservatives were furious over Sen. DeWine's effort to broker a compromise over filibusters, and some suggested taking out their displeasure on his son, Pat DeWine, who was running in the special June 14 congressional primary in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District to succeed Rob Portman (now the U.S. Trade Representative). For the record, Pat made it a point to distance himself from his father's position.

But what really doomed him — and doomed he was, going from clear frontrunner to fourth-place finisher — was his personal life. Several years ago, he left his wife, who was pregnant with their third child, for Betty Hull, a Republican lobbyist. The marriage ended in divorce, and Hull accompanied DeWine in his bid for Congress.

It should be mentioned that Hull is African-American — a fact that may or may not have been a big deal in the culturally conservative 2nd CD, which encompassed the Cincinnati suburbs. What is indisputable is that DeWine's marriage, or decisions regarding marriage, became an issue in the race. Jean Schmidt, the former state representative and anti-abortion activist who won the primary, constantly reminded voters that she was married to the same man for 29 years. Former congressman Bob McEwen, who finished second to Schmidt, constantly talked about his wife and four children. And so on. DeWine may have had the name, the campaign war chest, and the high-profile endorsements, but he didn't have the voters. And while his father's involvement with the so-called Gang of 14 centrists may have angered the right, methinks it was Pat DeWine's own choices and decisions that did him in.

By the way, here's a list of some other recent instances in which the sons of members (or former members) of the House or Senate were defeated in their bids for Congress; many of these candidates had little to offer other than a famous last name:

Billy Tauzin III — son of retiring Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA); lost general election 2004

Brad Smith — son of retiring Rep. Nick Smith (R-MI); lost primary 2004

Ed Broyhill — son of former Rep./Sen. Jim Broyhill (R-NC); lost primary 2004

Scott Armey — son of retiring Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX); lost primary 2002

Brad Barton — son of Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX); lost primary 2002

Sam Ewing — son of retiring Rep. Tom Ewing (R-IL); lost primary 2000

Don Bevill — son of ex-Rep. Tom Bevill (D-AL); lost general election 1998

Bob Shuster — son of Rep. Bud Shuster (R-PA); lost primary 1996 (though his other brother, Bill, succeeded the resigned Bud in 2001)

Craig Mathis — son of ex-Rep. Dawson Mathis (D-GA); lost general election 1994

Hamilton Fish III — son of retiring Rep. Hamilton Fish (R-NY); lost general election 1994 running as a Democrat

Walter Jones Jr. — son of retiring Rep. Walter Jones (D-NC); lost primary 1992; switched to the GOP in 1994 and was elected in a different district

Bennett Johnston III – son of Sen. Bennett Johnson (D-LA); lost Democratic primary for House seat in California 1992

Tom Udall — son of ex-Rep. Stewart Udall (D-AZ); lost bids for Congress in New Mexico in 1982 (primary) and 1988, before finally winning in 1998

And there was also Mary Ose, who tried to succeed her brother, Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA), who retired in 2004. She lost the GOP primary to Dan Lungren, a former member making a comeback.

Q: I have seen reports that say as many as 10 Southerners may run for president in 2008, and I was wondering if we have ever had a Baptist or Southern Baptist president. — Aaron Farber, San Francisco, Calif.

A: Our last two Democratic presidents from the South, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, were both Baptists, as were Warren Harding and Harry Truman.

I rather doubt that there are 10 Southerners who will run in 2008, but that's not to say there aren't 10 Southerners who wouldn't want to be considered among the great mentionables. Republicans on that list would include Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN), Sen. George Allen (VA), Gov. Jeb Bush (FL), Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who's from Alabama), Gov. Haley Barbour (MS), Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (GA). On the Democratic side, in addition to former senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards (NC), are two governors: Mark Warner (VA) and Phil Bredesen (TN).

Reality check: I seriously doubt that Rice, Barbour, Huckabee or Gingrich will run.

Q: With all the focus on the battle over filibusters, what can you tell me about the role played in the history of filibusters by former senators Strom Thurmond and Wayne Morse? What legislation were they blocking? — Diana Winthrop Gray, Washington, D.C.

A: Most of the filibusters in the 20th century had to do with civil rights. That was certainly the case with Thurmond, the senator from South Carolina who at the time was a Democrat, and whose 24-hour,18-minute filibuster against the 1957 civil rights bill is the longest speech in the history of the Senate. In today's terms, that bill was hardly revolutionary. But given the fact that until then the Senate had never passed a civil rights bill, Thurmond decided he would try to stop it at all costs. In his round-the-clock speech, Thurmond called the bill "dangerous" and an "assault" on the liberties of the American people. He also spent a lot of his time reading the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and George Washington's Farewell Address — typical tactics during the days when senators really monopolized the Senate floor with random speeches.

Thurmond's 1957 talkathon broke the filibuster record held by Morse, the Oregon senator who also switched parties while in office, though in the opposite direction from Thurmond. In April, 1953, Morse — who was then an independent, just months after leaving the GOP — spoke for 22 hours and 26 minutes against a bill that would give offshore oil rights to the states.

Q: Where can I find a link to the Democratic Party's platform of 1960? — Sara Pickering Pick, California Chamber of Commerce, Sacramento, Calif.

A: It can be found on the Web site of the American Presidency Project. The link is at the top right corner of this page.

The Scoop on Jackson: You won't find this fact anywhere else in the evil corporate media. But Michael Jackson was born exactly 22 years after Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who may run for president in 2008 and who led the fight for the Senate compromise on the filibuster. As far as I'm concerned, this little-known political nugget gives me the leeway to run a "Michael Jackson for President" button in this week's column.

This Day In Campaign History: Sen. Richard Russell (D-GA) is named Georgia's "favorite-son" candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination (June 16, 1952).

Got a question? Ask Ken Rudin: politicaljunkie@npr.org.