Ohio, Not Iowa or New Hampshire, Shows the Way

NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says "as goes Ohio, so goes the nation."

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The contest for governor is just one race that's making Ohio a state that political observers have their eyes on this election year. And right now it doesn't look good for Republicans, who've had a lock on the state for 16 years.

Here's one of those observers: NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.

DANIEL SCHORR: In Ohio, which helped to propel George Bush over the electoral top in two elections, the omens for the Republicans in the midterm election look grim. Episodes like Representative Bob Ney pulling out of the race after pleading guilty to doing favors for lobbyist Jack Abramoff, or fundraiser Tom Noe on trial for stealing state-owned rare coins.

In part, an aura of corruption that leaves loyal Republicans shaking their heads. Governor Bob Taft, a son of a senator and the grandson of another, had apologized for taking lobbyist favors but he says he won't resign. He's barred by law from running for anything term, which may be just as well for his party.

In some Congressional races, Republicans are running substantially behind. Incumbent Kenneth Blackwell is running more than 20 points behind Democrat Ted Strickland. Senator Mike DeWine, who has served 12 years, is running more than 10 points behind Sherrod Brown, a liberal. And seven-term incumbent, Representative Deborah Pryce, number four in the House Republican leadership, is running neck and neck with Mary Jo Kilroy who associated Pryce with Mark Foley in her attack ads.

Why is all this happening? A variety of polls indicate that many voters in this midterm election are influenced by their view of President Bush. Into the mix flow opinions about Iraq and even about the economy. As significant as any poll is a New York Times survey indicating that 70 percent of respondents believe that Ohio and America are on the wrong track.

Given the situation in Ohio, Republican organizations are shifting some of their resources to other states. But if Ohio is the bellwether state that it's said to be, there are problems for the Republicans in other states too.

This is Daniel Schorr.

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