Canton Repository

April 24, 2006

DeWine, Brown likely to tangle for Senate

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON - Sen. Mike DeWine faces a formidable challenge from the almost certain Democratic nominee, Rep. Sherrod Brown, in November in a contest that has drawn national attention as a key to which party controls the U.S. Senate.

But first DeWine must overcome spirited opposition from his ideological right in the May 2 GOP primary.

PRIMARY CHALLENGES

The two-term senator faces William G. Pierce, an engineer and high school teacher who liquidated his business after a protracted regulatory battle with the Department of Labor, and David R. Smith, a corporate finance manager who has lost in three previous bids for Congress.

Brown, D-Avon, is a seven-term congressman and former Ohio secretary of state. He has a single primary opponent, Merrill S. Keiser Jr., a steel hauler who contends that scripture allows practicing homosexuals to be put to death.

Polls suggest the expected match-up between DeWine and Brown will be close despite the fact that DeWine enjoys the advantages of incumbency.

“At this point it could clearly go either way,” said John C. Green, a political science professor at the University of Akron.

Observers believe DeWine has been hurt by corruption scandals in Republican administrations in Columbus and Washington, D.C., even though he has not been involved in them.

“The political environment tends to favor Democrats right now,” Green said. “To the extent that that environment continues, it will be a drag on all Republicans.”

ISSUES FOR FALL

Jobs and the state’s lagging economic recovery are shaping up as the top issues in the statewide contest.

Brown has attacked DeWine for supporting Republican initiatives in Congress and backing President Bush, whose job approval ratings have fallen to a record low.

“Whenever President Bush needs something, Mike DeWine is there for it,” said Brown, one of the most vocal critics of free trade agreements in the House.

“On every major issue — the war, the tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent, the new Medicare law ... written by the drug industry, the energy bill written by the oil companies, Social Security privatization — on every major issue DeWine is standing with the president,” he said.

DeWine said he plans to campaign on his continuing efforts to strengthen the nation’s security, promote legislation benefiting children, and support the Ohio economy through his sponsorship of federal spending projects as a member of the Appropriations Committee.

“I will continue to serve, I hope, on the Senate Intelligence Committee,” the former Greene County prosecutor said. “Having good intelligence is absolutely essential to protecting the homeland.”

In a swipe at Brown, who voted against the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts championed by Bush, DeWine said he supported the reductions because “they create jobs.”

DeWine also has announced his support for a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a proposal sought by some conservatives, after resisting such a measure in the past.

One barometer of DeWine’s vulnerability is his loss of support among some conservatives who are unhappy with his participation with a group of senators, the so-called “Gang of 14,” who sought a compromise on Bush’s Supreme Court nominations.

ANTI-BUSINESS, ANTI-GOD

Pierce also criticizes DeWine’s record on business issues.

DeWine “is absolutely silent concerning the barrage and the proliferation of regulations that are hampering our businesses,” charged Pierce, who views over-regulation as the most serious issue facing the state.

Smith, who moved to Ohio from Tennessee as part of a job change last year, said he hears a call for change as he campaigns across the state.

“Ohioans are tired,” he said. “They feel ... that he (DeWine) has abandoned Republican principles and they want change.”

Like DeWine, Pierce and Smith support Bush’s decision to take the nation to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. They take a harder line on immigration, criticizing a guest worker program and citizenship provisions for illegal aliens in a Senate proposal that DeWine supported.

While DeWine voted to add a prescription benefit to the Medicare insurance program for elderly and disabled Americans, Smith and Pierce said they would have opposed the program as unaffordable to the nation.

Pierce advocates dismantling the U.S. Department of Education, although he “believes in the ideals of No Child Left Behind,” the 2002 law that requires school districts to make demonstrable progress under federal review. Smith wants the Senate to approve drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, something DeWine opposes.

Brown is facing little challenge from Keiser, who said he’s raised no more than a few hundred dollars for his campaign.

A onetime Republican, he said he switched to the Democratic Party two years ago because the GOP seemed to be drifting left.

Keiser favors lower taxes, he supports the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and he takes a hard line on illegal immigration.

Frequently citing scripture, he worries that tolerance for homosexuality and other actions that he considers a departure from biblical teachings will bring “the judgment of God on the United States.”

U.S. SENATE

Term of office: Six years

Salary: $162,100

REPUBLICAN

MIKE DEWINE

Age: 59

Address: Cedarville

Party: Republican

Education: Law degree, Ohio Northern University

Occupation: U.S. senator

Family: Married, eight children

Political experience: U.S. senator, 1995-present; Ohio lieutenant governor, U.S. representative, state senator, Greene County prosecutor

What is the biggest problem facing Ohio and how can you help solve it?

“Creation of jobs. We went through the BRAC (base realignment and closure) process and were actually able to expand the jobs at Wright Patterson” Air Force Base. “We continue to work to create jobs at NASA Glenn. I supported tax cuts for small businesses ... that create a large number of jobs.”

WILLIAM G. PIERCE

Age: 53

Address: Maineville

Party: Republican

Education: Master’s degree, College of Mount St. Joseph, Cincinnati

Occupation: High school and college math teacher; engineer and former business owner

Family: Married, three children

Political experience: Warren County campaign manager for 1980 Reagan-Bush presidential campaign

What is the biggest problem facing Ohio and how can you help solve it?

“The loss of jobs in the state. The state and the federal governments have got to draw back on the regulations that are stifling the growth of business and we both have to get to a tax policy that encourages business. We’re asking Ohio companies ... to compete in the global market, but on the other hand we’re strangling them with over-regulation.”

DAVID R. SMITH

Age: 36

Address: Mason

Party: Republican

Education: Master’s degree, Northwestern University

Occupation: Finance manager, Procter & Gamble

Family: Married, three children

Political experience: Unsuccessful primary candidate for U.S. House (Ohio) in 2005, Tennessee ( 2004) and Utah (2002)

What is the biggest problem facing your state and how can you help solve it?

“The biggest problem we’re facing right now is the economy and jobs and I believe that the best way to turn the ... situation around here in Ohio is the simple principle of less government, by getting the government out of the way of Ohioans. It’s about lowering government regulations. It’s about reducing the tax burden.”

DEMOCRATS

SHERROD BROWN

Age: 53

Address: Avon

Party: Democratic

Education: Master’s degree, Ohio State University

Occupation: U.S. representative

Family: Married, two children, two stepchildren

Political experience: U.S. representative, Ohio secretary of state, state representative.

What is the biggest problem facing Ohio and how can you help solve it?

“I think it’s a betrayal of your values because of the corruption in Columbus and Washington. They’ve allowed the drug industry to write the Medicare law, which has caused drug prices to continue to skyrocket. I will ... put government on the side of Ohio families, not on the (side of the) most powerful special interests in Washington.”

MERRILL SAMUEL KEISER JR.

Age: 61

Address: Fremont

Party: Democratic

Education: Master’s degree, Denver Seminary, Colorado

Occupation: Owner-operator Keiser Trucking

Family: Single

Political experience: Republican precinct committeeman

What is the biggest problem facing your state and how can you help solve it?

“I see the biggest problem facing Ohio is ... the judges. And the judges have been moving the United States toward more and more ungodliness. We can see that with the taking of the Ten Commandments out of the courthouse ... and also the stopping of the prayer in schools and the abortion issue.”


By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON - Sen. Mike DeWine faces a formidable challenge from the almost certain Democratic nominee, Rep. Sherrod Brown, in November in a contest that has drawn national attention as a key to which party controls the U.S. Senate.

But first DeWine must overcome spirited opposition from his ideological right in the May 2 GOP primary.

PRIMARY CHALLENGES

The two-term senator faces William G. Pierce, an engineer and high school teacher who liquidated his business after a protracted regulatory battle with the Department of Labor, and David R. Smith, a corporate finance manager who has lost in three previous bids for Congress.

Brown, D-Avon, is a seven-term congressman and former Ohio secretary of state. He has a single primary opponent, Merrill S. Keiser Jr., a steel hauler who contends that scripture allows practicing homosexuals to be put to death.

Polls suggest the expected match-up between DeWine and Brown will be close despite the fact that DeWine enjoys the advantages of incumbency.

“At this point it could clearly go either way,” said John C. Green, a political science professor at the University of Akron.

Observers believe DeWine has been hurt by corruption scandals in Republican administrations in Columbus and Washington, D.C., even though he has not been involved in them.

“The political environment tends to favor Democrats right now,” Green said. “To the extent that that environment continues, it will be a drag on all Republicans.”

ISSUES FOR FALL

Jobs and the state’s lagging economic recovery are shaping up as the top issues in the statewide contest.

Brown has attacked DeWine for supporting Republican initiatives in Congress and backing President Bush, whose job approval ratings have fallen to a record low.

“Whenever President Bush needs something, Mike DeWine is there for it,” said Brown, one of the most vocal critics of free trade agreements in the House.

“On every major issue — the war, the tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent, the new Medicare law ... written by the drug industry, the energy bill written by the oil companies, Social Security privatization — on every major issue DeWine is standing with the president,” he said.

DeWine said he plans to campaign on his continuing efforts to strengthen the nation’s security, promote legislation benefiting children, and support the Ohio economy through his sponsorship of federal spending projects as a member of the Appropriations Committee.

“I will continue to serve, I hope, on the Senate Intelligence Committee,” the former Greene County prosecutor said. “Having good intelligence is absolutely essential to protecting the homeland.”

In a swipe at Brown, who voted against the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts championed by Bush, DeWine said he supported the reductions because “they create jobs.”

DeWine also has announced his support for a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a proposal sought by some conservatives, after resisting such a measure in the past.

One barometer of DeWine’s vulnerability is his loss of support among some conservatives who are unhappy with his participation with a group of senators, the so-called “Gang of 14,” who sought a compromise on Bush’s Supreme Court nominations.

ANTI-BUSINESS, ANTI-GOD

Pierce also criticizes DeWine’s record on business issues.

DeWine “is absolutely silent concerning the barrage and the proliferation of regulations that are hampering our businesses,” charged Pierce, who views over-regulation as the most serious issue facing the state.

Smith, who moved to Ohio from Tennessee as part of a job change last year, said he hears a call for change as he campaigns across the state.

“Ohioans are tired,” he said. “They feel ... that he (DeWine) has abandoned Republican principles and they want change.”

Like DeWine, Pierce and Smith support Bush’s decision to take the nation to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. They take a harder line on immigration, criticizing a guest worker program and citizenship provisions for illegal aliens in a Senate proposal that DeWine supported.

While DeWine voted to add a prescription benefit to the Medicare insurance program for elderly and disabled Americans, Smith and Pierce said they would have opposed the program as unaffordable to the nation.

Pierce advocates dismantling the U.S. Department of Education, although he “believes in the ideals of No Child Left Behind,” the 2002 law that requires school districts to make demonstrable progress under federal review. Smith wants the Senate to approve drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, something DeWine opposes.

Brown is facing little challenge from Keiser, who said he’s raised no more than a few hundred dollars for his campaign.

A onetime Republican, he said he switched to the Democratic Party two years ago because the GOP seemed to be drifting left.

Keiser favors lower taxes, he supports the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and he takes a hard line on illegal immigration.

Frequently citing scripture, he worries that tolerance for homosexuality and other actions that he considers a departure from biblical teachings will bring “the judgment of God on the United States.”

U.S. SENATE

Term of office: Six years

Salary: $162,100

REPUBLICAN

MIKE DEWINE

Age: 59

Address: Cedarville

Party: Republican

Education: Law degree, Ohio Northern University

Occupation: U.S. senator

Family: Married, eight children

Political experience: U.S. senator, 1995-present; Ohio lieutenant governor, U.S. representative, state senator, Greene County prosecutor

What is the biggest problem facing Ohio and how can you help solve it?

“Creation of jobs. We went through the BRAC (base realignment and closure) process and were actually able to expand the jobs at Wright Patterson” Air Force Base. “We continue to work to create jobs at NASA Glenn. I supported tax cuts for small businesses ... that create a large number of jobs.”

WILLIAM G. PIERCE

Age: 53

Address: Maineville

Party: Republican

Education: Master’s degree, College of Mount St. Joseph, Cincinnati

Occupation: High school and college math teacher; engineer and former business owner

Family: Married, three children

Political experience: Warren County campaign manager for 1980 Reagan-Bush presidential campaign

What is the biggest problem facing Ohio and how can you help solve it?

“The loss of jobs in the state. The state and the federal governments have got to draw back on the regulations that are stifling the growth of business and we both have to get to a tax policy that encourages business. We’re asking Ohio companies ... to compete in the global market, but on the other hand we’re strangling them with over-regulation.”

DAVID R. SMITH

Age: 36

Address: Mason

Party: Republican

Education: Master’s degree, Northwestern University

Occupation: Finance manager, Procter & Gamble

Family: Married, three children

Political experience: Unsuccessful primary candidate for U.S. House (Ohio) in 2005, Tennessee ( 2004) and Utah (2002)

What is the biggest problem facing your state and how can you help solve it?

“The biggest problem we’re facing right now is the economy and jobs and I believe that the best way to turn the ... situation around here in Ohio is the simple principle of less government, by getting the government out of the way of Ohioans. It’s about lowering government regulations. It’s about reducing the tax burden.”

DEMOCRATS

SHERROD BROWN

Age: 53

Address: Avon

Party: Democratic

Education: Master’s degree, Ohio State University

Occupation: U.S. representative

Family: Married, two children, two stepchildren

Political experience: U.S. representative, Ohio secretary of state, state representative.

What is the biggest problem facing Ohio and how can you help solve it?

“I think it’s a betrayal of your values because of the corruption in Columbus and Washington. They’ve allowed the drug industry to write the Medicare law, which has caused drug prices to continue to skyrocket. I will ... put government on the side of Ohio families, not on the (side of the) most powerful special interests in Washington.”

MERRILL SAMUEL KEISER JR.

Age: 61

Address: Fremont

Party: Democratic

Education: Master’s degree, Denver Seminary, Colorado

Occupation: Owner-operator Keiser Trucking

Family: Single

Political experience: Republican precinct committeeman

What is the biggest problem facing your state and how can you help solve it?

“I see the biggest problem facing Ohio is ... the judges. And the judges have been moving the United States toward more and more ungodliness. We can see that with the taking of the Ten Commandments out of the courthouse ... and also the stopping of the prayer in schools and the abortion issue.”