Since last fall, this race has been about one thing and one thing only: Jack Abramoff. Reported for months to be in the crosshairs of federal investigators looking into the Abramoff influence-peddling probe, Rep. Bob Ney held out for as long as possible before admitting guilt to conspiracy charges and making false statements, striking a plea bargain and withdrawing his re-election bid. That was too little, too late for the GOP. State Sen. Joy Padgett won a special primary, but with all the corruption charges swirling in Ohio, Padgett has struggled to distance herself from the party's woes.
The latest Zogby poll shows Democratic candidate Zack Space with a commanding lead of 20 percentage points. It doesn't help either that Ney officially resigned his seat Friday, on the eve of the election, some three weeks after pleading guilty. Padgett said in a statement that his resignation "has come seven weeks too late. I called on Mr. Ney to resign the day he admitted guilt, and I remain disappointed that he chose not to do so." This is about as sure a win as the Democrats have this year.