The precedental value of Ohio 2

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Several readers have E-mailed me on my posting on Ohio 2. They note that the Republican candidate, Jean Schmidt, had voted in the legislature for Governor Bob Taft's tax increase, that Taft has a very low popularity rating, that after 15 years of Republican-controlled state government Ohio has a weak economy. They point out that Democrat Paul Hackett ran ads starting off with video of George W. Bush and emphasized Hackett's military service in Iraq.

My point was that in general special elections are not good indicators of subsequent regular elections. (Exceptions: spring 1974, spring 1994.) These readers add points that suggest that the weak Republican showing in the Ohio 2 special is likely to have little precedental value. I agree and perhaps should have made some of these points myself.

Nonetheless, I still think the low Republican turnout is a bad sign for Republicans. Ohio 2 includes all of Clermont County and part of Warren County—fast-growing exurban areas where Republicans harvested huge numbers of new votes in November 2004. They didn't in August 2005. Not a good sign for November 2006.