October 30, 2006
DeWine, Brown square off in high-profile race for Senate
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
WASHINGTON - The Ohio Senate race, one of the most competitive in
the nation, pits a dogged legislator and advocate for children’s
issues against a champion of the working man and critic of
Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Cedarville, is seeking a third term with
opposition from Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon.
The candidates have sparred over their records, their
effectiveness as lawmakers and the proper direction for the
Brown, 53, charges DeWine with voting for legislation favored by
oil and pharmaceutical companies, such as the Medicare
prescription drug benefit, because of the hundreds of thousands of
dollars they have contributed to his campaign.
The seven-term congressman also criticizes DeWine for voting with
President Bush more than 90 percent of the time.
“The difference is I stood up to a president of my own party,”
said Brown, who opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement
and favored a balanced budget amendment and line-item veto when
Democrat Bill Clinton was president.
DeWine “never really has (opposed Bush) on any major issue,” he
DeWine, 59, denied that big campaign contributors have influence
over him. He has bragged about his record of supporting Bush, but
noted that he has opposed the administration on some issues,
including voting against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge in Alaska.
He accuses Brown, who has a consistently liberal voting record in
the House, of being “on the fringe of his own party.”
DeWine criticizes Brown for opposing the Patriot Act, which he
says has broken down the wall between law enforcement and the
intelligence community, allowing them to work together to fight
DeWine also underscores what he says is his history of
bipartisanship, working with Democrats and Republicans to pass
legislation to improve the lives of children, provide tools to law
enforcement and increase highway safety, Brown, he charges, is a
partisan who has enjoyed little success in working with the other
In response, Brown noted that he worked with Republicans such as
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on several measures, including
provisions to close loopholes preventing access to cheaper drugs.
TRADE, HEALTH CARE, JOBS AND KIDS
Brown has made his reputation as a foe of free trade agreements,
which he argues are harmful to U.S. workers. He led the
unsuccessful opposition against the Central American Free Trade
Agreement last year.
DeWine voted for CAFTA.
Brown also has pushed for legislation to reduce the cost of
medications for seniors and increase access to health care.
DeWine, viewed as a centrist on most issues, has carved out a
niche in the area of children’s welfare, including passing
legislation to increase testing of children’s medications and
requiring judges to give more weight to the safety of abused
children in custody cases.
If elected to the Senate, Brown said his priorities would be jobs
and health care.
His formula for job creation includes rewriting trade agreements
to make them fairer, gearing tax policy to favor domestic
manufacturers and promoting ethanol production, research and
technology development in Ohio, he said.
Brown opposed the income tax cuts sought by Bush, which he said
favor the wealthy.
DeWine supported those cuts, which he said spurred the economy and
put more money in the pockets of Ohioans.
DeWine said his priorities include passing a bill he wrote with
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., to create an insurance program to
help pay for assistance required by disabled people who continue
He also wants to pass a bill giving the Food and Drug
Administration the authority to regulate tobacco, which he said
would benefit Americans’ health.
Since joining the Senate Appropriations Committee, DeWine said he
has used his clout to direct $1.2 billion in spending back to the
state for health care, research and job creation.
THE WAR IN IRAQ
Iraq divides the candidates.
Brown, who voted against the 2003 resolution authorizing the
invasion, argues the war was mismanaged. He favors a
military-approved timetable for withdrawing over the next two
DeWine voted to invade Iraq but admitted mistakes have been made.
“We did not have enough troops when we went in,” he said.
DeWine insists that setting a timetable would embolden the
insurgents in Iraq and benefit radicals in Iran, who he said would
like to turn Iraq into a terrorist haven.
But the war isn’t the only point on which the two diverge.
Brown is a sharp critic of the Medicare drug prescription plan
championed by Bush — especially the so-called “doughnut hole,” a
gap in coverage that appears after a beneficiary and the
government have paid $2,250 in prescription costs in a year.
He said if the plan were changed, allowing the government to
negotiate drug prices and eliminating the insurance company
“middleman,” the savings would “fill or almost fill … the doughnut
hole,” allowing for expanded coverage.
DeWine claimed that Brown “really has been unable to say how he
would pay to close” the gap.
Federal officials say closing the gap would add $500 billion to
$600 billion to the cost of the program.
DeWine agreed the drug coverage plan is not perfect and said
“there are problems to be worked out.” But he added that
competition among drug plans has led to lower costs than
projected, and lower premiums for consumers.
Perhaps no issue divides the candidates more clearly than
abortion. DeWine has sponsored several anti-abortion laws to
prohibit what opponents call “partial birth” abortion and to make
the killing of a fetus a crime.
Brown believes abortion should be legal and he voted against a ban
on such late-term abortions because it did not include an
exception for the health of the mother.
They also differ over federal funding of embryonic stem cell
research. DeWine opposes it because he believes it’s wrong to
destroy human embryos. Brown contends the research could lead to a
cure for diseases.
Term of office: Six years
Annual pay: $165,200
Education: Master’s in education and public administration, Ohio
Occupation: U.S. representative
Family: Wife, Connie Schultz; two children, two stepchildren
Political experience: U.S. representative, 1993-present; Ohio
secretary of state, 1982-90; state representative, 1974-82
“The partnership between Mike DeWine and (Republican governor) Bob
Taft has given the state very little. You will see a partnership
between me and (Democratic gubernatorial candidate) Ted Strickland
Education: Law degree, Ohio Northern University; B.S., education,
Miami University of Ohio
Occupation: U.S. senator
Family: Wife, Fran; eight children
Political experience: U.S. senator, 1995-present; lieutenant
governor, 1990-94; U.S. representative, 1982-90; state senator,
1980-82; Greene County prosecutor, 1977-81
“I have a proven record of working with Democrats and Republicans
to get things done, to make things happen. My opponent, Sherrod
Brown, does not. … He’s exemplified no ability really to work with
other people of the opposite party to get anything done.”