Published: Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Brown, DeWine give last push
Sherrod Brown was in Cleveland; Mike DeWine was in southwest Ohio.
COLUMBUS (AP) The Democratic challenger and the Republican incumbent in a key Senate race hoped one last campaign push in areas friendly to their parties would give them the edge in today's election.
GOP Sen. Mike DeWine, trailing in polls, set his sights on heavily Republican southwest Ohio, making an appearance Monday with White House budget chief Rob Portman, a former Cincinnati-area congressman, and topping off his campaign with a rally in Beavercreek.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown worked the blue-collar Cleveland area, with a stop to meet union workers at a Ford engine plant, followed by a rally with 2004 presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich.
Democrats hope DeWine's seat will give them one of six they need to assume control of the Senate. Brown, a seven-term congressman, presents the strongest challenge of DeWine's 30-year political career.
The Republican National Committee pulled the TV ad time it had reserved for DeWine after he began slipping in the polls and began spending the money in states such as Michigan and Maryland, where it feels it has a better shot at holding its majority. DeWine is using his substantial campaign kitty to pay his way.
Change in strategy
Brown canceled a planned appearance at a Columbus diner early Monday for television interviews in Cincinnati and Dayton. He felt he could reach more voters with that strategy, spokesman Ben LaBolt said. Those areas are also rich with voters who have supported DeWine in his two previous Senate campaigns.
"If they want a senator who will stand up for the middle class and go in a different direction, I would respectfully ask for their vote," Brown told WKRC-TV in Cincinnati.
At the engine plant in Brook Park, Brown shook hands with about 300 workers as they came through the turnstiles at the end of their shifts. They smiled and snapped photos with the candidate.
"I'll put you in, you do the right thing and everything is going to be all right," said Kevin Hawkins, 51, of Warrensville Heights.
A few workers paused to express concerns, including Sovereign Dennislapso, 50, who criticized the nation's trade policies. Brown said he shared the same concerns.
"People have had it with the corrupt government in Columbus. People have had it with the job-killing trade agreements," Brown said.
At a rally later in Cleveland, Brown compared Republicans, including DeWine, who are trying to hold on to their jobs to toddlers who don't want to let go of their blankets.
"We're going to yank their blanket away, and we're going to put them to bed," Brown said.
DeWine started his campaigning in the Democratic stronghold of Cleveland, saying he was following a tradition by greeting commuters coming off transit trains in downtown on the day before the election.
"I think we have made some significant gains, and one of the things I'm seeing is tremendous enthusiasm around the state, especially at our call centers. I think this has been the case for the last two weeks, and I think we're going to win," DeWine said.
Family joins DeWine
DeWine was joined by several of his children and grandchildren at stops in Columbus and Cincinnati, including 14-month-old Josie Jean, wearing a hand-me-down blue sweat shirt that said "Vote for Grandpa."
In Columbus at state GOP headquarters, he repeated his criticism of Brown's getting just four bills passed in 14 years which Brown blames on uncooperative GOP leaders and an allegation that an employee sold drugs out of the secretary of state's office during Brown's tenure which was investigated but led to no charges.
"It's just a pattern of Sherrod Brown not getting things done and being reckless in how he conducts himself in public office," DeWine said.