Saturday's New York Times story from Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Democrats Sense Chance In Ohio for '06 Elections -- Weakened Republicans Still Hold Edge," is the latest in what amounts to an "occasional series" of Times' stories encouraging Democrats in Ohio.Congressional reporter Stolberg is even more excited about Democratic prospects in Ohio than James Dao (of Marine letter infamy) was during Paul Hackett's unsuccessful run for an open House seat. And before the 2004 election, Dao noted: "The disarray is so great, Democrats contend, that it could hurt President Bush's ability to win Ohio, a pivotal state for the Republicans." Of course, Ohio ended up putting Bush over the top.Back to Stolberg:
"Democrats are hard to find in this upscale Columbus suburb, home to Representative Deborah Pryce, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House. Yet Democrats now think they can do the unthinkable: unseat Ms. Pryce in 2006. She is not their only target. These are tough times for Republicans, and nowhere more so than in Ohio, a Republican-dominated state that has become a political crucible, testing the party's strength nationally as next year's mid-term elections approach."The Republican governor, Bob Taft, is ensnared in an ethics scandal that has sent his approval ratings into a freefall. One House Republican from Ohio, Representative Bob Ney, has been implicated in a federal fraud investigation. Another, Representative Jean Schmidt, has been ridiculed on late night television for sharply criticizing a prominent Democrat over the war in Iraq."With President Bush's popularity ratings dropping, Republican candidates in Ohio say they will run on their own records, not that of their party or the president. They are mindful that in Central Ohio, as in the rest of the nation, unease over the economy and the war in Iraq runs deep."
Stolberg later relays: "And history favors the Democrats because the party out of power typically gains seats in a mid-term election during a president's second term. In Ohio, Democrats hope to unseat as many as eight House Republicans, as well as the state's senior senator, Mike DeWine."Stolberg spotlights radio ads by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a group from Upper Arlington, Ohio called UA Progressive Action, which has "a Web site and an e-mail list of 1,500." (Ohio Republicans are surely shaking in their boots.)Near the end, she locates some differing sentiments: "Republicans are also comforted by the results of a recent ballot initiative, in which four voting and campaign finance proposals backed by Democrats were resoundingly defeated….Republicans also say time is on their side. Last summer, after Ms. Schmidt squeaked out a victory over Paul Hackett, a Democrat and Iraq war veteran in an overwhelmingly Republican district, Ms. Pryce told the editorial board of The Columbus Dispatch that the political situation for Ohio Republicans was 'just dreadful.' Now she predicts that next year will be different." For more examples of bias in the New York Times, visit TimesWatch.