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Ohio Senate: Hackett vs. Brown in Dem. Primary

Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett today formally announced his candidacy in the Ohio Senate race, setting up a Democratic primary clash with Ohio Rep. Sherrod Brown. Both men are seeking to unseat Sen. Mike DeWine (R).

Hackett cast his campaign as a "fight to take back our government from the career politicians and their special interest support groups who have hijacked our government." That remark seems easily read as a shot at Brown, who has held public office since 1974. Hackett, by contrast, is a newcomer to congressional politics. He was the Democratic nominee in the Ohio 2nd District special election earlier this year, narrowly losing what has been a safe Republican seat.

Setting the tone for what could be a rough and tumble primary, Brown dismissed Hackett's comments as a sign of inexperience in an interview today. "Paul is new enough to public office that he doesn't understand that no one is entitled to a Senate nomination," said Brown. The lawmaker added that he doesn't know where Hackett stands on any issues with the exception of Iraq and "he's had two or three different positions" on the war.

Brown initially declined to run against DeWine in August but reconsidered just weeks later -- even as it was becoming increasingly clear that Hackett would make the race. Sources say Rep. Ted Strickland (D), who is running for governor, played a major role in convincing Brown to launch a bid.

Brown would seem to begin the race with the edge given his electoral base in the Akron area and the fact that he had roughly $2 million sitting in a congressional account -- all of which can be transferred directly to a Senate bid. Hackett had $19,000 left over in his House committee at the end of September.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 24, 2005; 4:11 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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