Canton Repository

July 26, 2005

Ryan, Brown consider challenging DeWine for his senate seat

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON — Reps. Sherrod Brown and Tim Ryan are among several Ohio Democrats who are considering challenging Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Cedarville, when his second term ends next year.

Others being mentioned as potential candidates include Lee Fisher, former Ohio attorney general, and former Rep. Thomas C. Sawyer of Akron.

Brown, D-Lorain, is thinking about a run but has not set a deadline for making a decision, a spokesman said.

Some Democratic leaders have urged Ryan, D-Niles, to challenge DeWine, said the congressman’s spokesman, Ryan Keating.

Democrats believe DeWine is vulnerable, at least in part because of the potential political harm that could befall Republicans as a result of a federal probe into the theft of millions of dollars from the state’s workers’ compensation fund. Republicans control the governorship and Legislature and occupy both U.S. Senate seats in Ohio.

“A lot of people are expressing interest in the race,” said Phil Singer, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “People in Ohio do not associate achievements or accomplishments with Mike DeWine. That’s what our research has shown.”

Brian Nick, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, countered that DeWine has broad support. “The Democrats are doing their best to trump up a race for themselves here but Sen. DeWine is going to be just fine,” he said.

The seven-term Brown, who served as Ohio secretary of state from 1983 to 1991, earlier this year pondered a run for governor in 2006, when term limits force Gov. Bob Taft to step down. When Brown took himself out of contention, Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Lisbon, launched his bid for governor.

Ryan, first elected to the House in 2002, is not commenting on reports that he is interested in taking on DeWine.

John C. Green, political analyst at the University of Akron, said because Ryan has only been in the House a few years, “I’d be a little surprised if he ran but stranger things have happened.”

Green does not view DeWine as particularly vulnerable.

“He may be a little less popular, particularly among conservatives than he was previously, but I don’t get the sense that he’s in trouble,” Green said.

DeWine is ahead of potential competitors in raising the funds necessary for a statewide race. At the end of June, DeWine had $2.9 million in his campaign war chest, compared to $1.9 million for Brown and $134,108 for Ryan.