Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

In just seven short months, Jean Schmidt has successfully disgraced her office, her constituents and her party through a combination of politically unwise actions and uncouth and disrespectful comments. Now, she appears more beatable than ever -- if she is able to make it out of the GOP primary.

Schmidt, as we all remember, barely eked out a victory in a special congressional election in August, edging out Iraq War vet and blogosphere hero Paul Hackett. Within two months, Schmidt had made her now infamous comments suggesting she believed Congressman Jack Murtha, a military veteran with an impressive record of serving his country in war, was a coward for putting forward a plan to extricate America from the situation in Iraq.

The last week has not treated Schmidt any better, politically. On Tuesday, as Jackie Kucinich reports for The Hill, Schmidt was asked by Rep. Tom Tancredo, the leader of the anti-immigration movement in the U.S. House, to remove his name from the list of endorsements on her campaign website.

The office of Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) yesterday afternoon removed a claim on her website that Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) had endorsed her after Tancredo's office said it was not true.

Early in the afternoon yesterday, Schmidt's homepage touted that Tancredo was publicly backing her: "Rep. Tom Tancredo -- Chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus endorses Congresswoman Jean Schmidt and thanks her for her hard work to end `illegal' immigration and protect American jobs."

But Tancredo never endorsed Schmidt in her bid for reelection this year, said his spokesman, Will Adams.

Turns out Schmidt wasn't only fabricating the support of Tom Tancredo. As The Cincinnati Enquirer's Malia Rulon reports, Schmidt has been riling some of her fellow Ohio Republicans by incorrectly claiming their support for her reelection campaign.

Rep. Jean Schmidt's campaign Web site lists several political endorsements, including one from fellow Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood.

There's only one problem.

Chabot says he didn't endorse Schmidt, who faces a primary challenge May 2 from Republican Bob McEwen, a former congressman from southern Ohio.

But that was not all for Jean Schmidt. Kucinich did some more digging and reporting on Wednesday and penned an article for Thursday's issue of The Hill detailing the contents of an interview Schmidt granted The Enquirer during the 1984 GOP Convention, where she was a delegate.

As a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1984, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) expressed her contempt for a future colleague and allegedly likened young Republican activists to Hitler, according to an interview published by the local paper at the time.


Schmidt, who was 32 at the time, provided evidence for this assessment during her time with the reporter, who quoted her taking issue with future Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), who was then President Reagan's transportation secretary. During her tenure at Transportation, Dole wanted to impose a nationwide drinking age of 21.

"I hate that woman," she told the reporter. "I just can't stand her. Anyone who wants to force an increase in the drinking age to 21. ... She can send our boys off to fight wars when they're 17 and 18 but won't let them drink till they're 21."

She added, "That stinks." 

The article also details her "booing" during a Dole appearance at the convention.

Schmidt is clearly weak at this juncture, but the greatest risk for the Democrats, at this point, is that Schmidt will not garner the GOP nomination in Ohio's second congressional district this year. Former Rep. Bob McEwen, who narrowly lost to Schmidt in the Republican primary last year, is running again this year and has a real shot at knocking Schmidt off this year. But as we saw this week in Texas, as current Rep. Henry Cuellar, somewhat of a turncoat Democrat, defeated the progressive former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic primary, it is not so easy for former Members of Congress to reconnect with voters -- even if the current Representative is not popular with the base.

So if Schmidt makes it out of the GOP primary this year, which remains a distinct possibility, the Democrats should have a decent shot at picking up her seat. Sure, the Cook Political Report (a .pdf) does not see this race as potentially competitive at this point, and George W. Bush handily carried the district in 2004. But with all of Schmidt's missteps, making her party and her constituents look like fools for sending her to Congress, the tikme is ripe for a Democratic victory in Ohio's second congressional district. For continuing coverage of the race and all of it's intricacies, check out the Ohio 2nd Blog, which is a prime example of the locally-focused political blog that will be of increasing importance in the coming months and years.

Tags: House 2006, Jean Schmidt, OH-02, Republicans (all tags)



Is the reporter related to the...

...Ohio congressman and former presidential canidate with the same hard to spell name?

by Geotpf 2006-03-10 12:43PM | 0 recs
by Jonathan Singer 2006-03-10 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

If Hackett had run for congress...

by js noble 2006-03-10 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

Yeah yeah.... if ifs and buts were candy and nuts...

by ignatzmouse 2006-03-10 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

Well I do agree that having a drinking age of 21 and a fighting age of 18 doesn't seem fair.

Who's the Dem candidate now that Hackett is gone?

by MNPundit 2006-03-10 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

On the right hand side of my blog I have links for all of the candidates running in the 2nd. Hopefully I'll have time to fill them out with more details, but I doubt it.

by ignatzmouse 2006-03-10 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

Thanks for the link.  Two questions when you get time.  Isn't Thor our front runner for this nomination? And second, I lost the link for the Dayton blog which is covering OH-03 and don't see a link on your blog.  Do you happen to remember what it is?  Thanks for the help.

by Demo Dan in Dayton 2006-03-11 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

You're probably referring to Live From Dayton, but that's gone. The proprietor was hired on as the Communications Director for Stephanie Studebaker's congressional campaign in OH-3.

I write about the OH-3 race on my site from time to time, but at this stage in the game there isn't really all that much to cover - yet.

by Blogesque 2006-03-11 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

Too bad someone ran away rather than run again with full party support.

by BigDog 2006-03-10 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

If you mean Paul Hackett, he was asked by the party to run for the Senate when everyone else refused. He did so.  As a man of integrity, he refused to jump all over the place and step on other people's toes when another person later made a decision to get in the same race. At the very late point when the party started leaning heavily on him to withdraw numerous other candidates had ramped up their campaigns. And if Schmidt DOESN'T make it out of the [primary, chances are whatever Dem runs will be merely a sacrificial lamb in this extremely Republican district.

by anastasia 2006-03-11 03:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

Cuellar might not have much support with the nationwide netroots base of the party, but he clearly has support with the "base" of Democratic primary voters in his own district.  Even if independents and Republicans voted in the primary, he'd still have to be running even with Ciro to have that extra support put him over the top.

As much as we may not like Cuellar, his sins are nothing compared to Schmidt.  Cuellar embarrasses the netroots, but Schmidt embarassess her entire district.  I don't usually care who wins Republican primaries, but I hope she goes down.  If she is the nominee, we'll be shooting ourselves for not having Hackett challenge her again -- but I doubt he could defeat another Republican without her record of "achievement".

by chrisishardcore 2006-03-10 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio
Jean Schmidt, we hardly knew ye!  
But what we know makes us pukey.
by Marie Smith 2006-03-10 04:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

Wait, Jonathan, surely you jest?

The only way that seat would be picked up by a Democrat is if the candidate were to have the resources necessary (read: money). Neither candidate mentioned has filed with the FEC, which means neither candidate has raised over $5,000.

Sorry, but unless Hackett or someone else who's, you know, serious decides to run, I'm taking a pass on this one.

On a similar vein: I'm getting increasingly tired of every two-bit candidate for office showing up here and on DailyKos asking for support and saying that if we back them, they'll surely win. Bull. If you run a competent campaign, then you'll win.

by Arkhangel 2006-03-10 04:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

I think you are taking a very narrow view of things. Right now the County Democratic Parties here in the 2nd are in a major rebuilding phase. Making an effort in the Congressional races can make a big difference in that. Paul Hackett was HUGE in that effort, but it's not going to die with the end of his current political bids.

ALSO, a strong effort by a Democrat down here helps get votes for the state wide candidates. Governor, AG, SoS, Auditor, Treasurer. All are VERY important races. A 2nd candidate with some hustle can make a real difference in bringing out voters to the polls.

Democrats need to stop looking at each race as an island. They are all interconnected.

by ignatzmouse 2006-03-10 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

No offense, but I reside in the Colorado 5th (Colorado Springs), which, if anything, is just as conservative, if not more so, than the Ohio 2nd.

The difference? In the 5th, the candidate's a livewire, who's raising funds and doing the little things necessary to make it a race (full disclosure: I'm part of his caucus organizing team). He may not win, but he'll likely deny the GOP their traditional bastion of Colorado Springs, and thus make it supremely difficult to win the various statewide races, assuming the other candidates do what they must do in order to win.

In the 2nd, you yourself mentioned below that all the candidates have their heads "way too up in the clouds". Find me a candidate who doesn't, and I'll get interested in a hurry. Until you do, I won't.

I don't mean my criticism as a slam of the work necessary in places like SW Ohio and Colorado Springs. I mean it as a realistic and brutal assessment that amateur hour is over, and it's your job as a local decision-maker and person of influence to make that clear to those candidates and those campaigns.

You made it very clear in your reply: a candidate who has some hustle can make a difference. And I wholeheartedly agree. The fact that no candidate has yet filed with the FEC tells me that they lack enough hustle to even raise $5,000.

That's "easy" money. That's money you get from friends and family. If your friends and family won't give you money and support, why the heck should I?

That's where my criticism comes from.

by Arkhangel 2006-03-11 02:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

My goal is to create an environment friendly to good candidates. Eventually they will come or the current candidates will wake up. In the mean time we'll keep hustling.

by ignatzmouse 2006-03-11 04:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

As Republicans, we don't believe in government, but lie cheat and steal to win places in it and then don't govern. Then we run from the resulting disasters like scalded dogs.

by Henk 2006-03-10 05:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

During her tenure at Transportation, Dole wanted to impose a nationwide drinking age of 21.

"I hate that woman," she told the reporter. "I just can't stand her. Anyone who wants to force an increase in the drinking age to 21. ... She can send our boys off to fight wars when they're 17 and 18 but won't let them drink till they're 21."

Um, is it really bad if I think Schmidt was right?

by mfeld356 2006-03-10 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

If a racist like Tancredo wants nothing to do with you... then, wow.  I didn't think that even HE had standards...

by HellofaSandwich 2006-03-10 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Schmidt's Campaign Tanks in Ohio

Jonathan, thanks a lot for the plug. While just about everyone likes to write the 2nd off, it's a district that I can't stop writing about. The characters are just too interesting.

I'm hoping that one of the candidates can find their sea legs and really start hammering away. They all have potential, but right now their heads are way to up in the clouds. We shall see.

In any event it will be a fun race.  It will be curious to see how much support Schmidt really has. It's hard to fathom why she gets any, but that's part of the charm of the district. Clermont County is her stronghold. If McEwen's going to make any headway, he's going to have to do it there.

by ignatzmouse 2006-03-10 07:39PM | 0 recs


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