Thursday, May 4, 2006

Ohio GOP looks to avoid Illinois 2002 disaster

Ohio is much more Republican than Illinois yet it is staring at a fall massacre similar to the one here in 2002.

Governor Bob Taft has George Ryan-like numbers and party fortunes are sagging under weight of many years of nearly absolute power.

But luckily they have a strong gubernatorial candidate in Ken Blackwell and a popular attorney general hopeful in Betty Montgomery. I wouldn't bet against either.

And numbers guru Michael Barone says the returns from Tuesday's primary aren't as bad as he thought.

But what fascinates me here is that turnout on both sides was robust, as it was in November 2004, when Ohio cast 5,627,908 votes, 687,491 more than its previous high (in 1992). People may be turned off by politics and politicians, but they're still voting like crazyĆ¢€”or at least in greater numbers than in the recent past. And people may be turned off by Republicans, but a lot of Republicans are still voting. This parallels what I saw in the special election last month in the 50th Congressional District of California. Somehow, despite all the discouraging news and dismal poll numbers, there are a lot of plodding, dull, dutiful people, too stubborn to take instruction from their betters in the mainstream media, who insist on going out and voting Republican. Hard to explain. But that's what the numbers seem to say.

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