It's going to be a close race in Ohio come Tuesday when voters choose between Republican Schmidt and Iraq vet and Democrat Hackett. I am, of course, pulling for Hackett. Read on:
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Schmidt can't recall Ach favor
By Howard WilkinsonEnquirer staff writer
Republican congressional candidate Jean Schmidt's media consultant said Friday she had no recollection of lobbying the governor's office on behalf of Cincinnati businessman Roger Ach's Internet lottery business when she was a state representative, as was reported Friday by the Toledo Blade.
But her Democratic opponent, Paul Hackett, jumped on the story, saying Schmidt "should have been lobbying for her constituents."
The Blade on Friday quoted documents released by Gov. Bob Taft's office that included a November 2001 e-mail written by Taft staff member Jon Allison complaining that Schmidt "continues to bug me on the Internet lottery."
Ach wanted to persuade the governor to back his plan to sell lottery tickets through his Internet business.
One year after the e-mail, Schmidt received a $1,000 campaign contribution from Ach.
Schmidt was campaigning in Brown County on Friday and could not be reached for comment, but her media consultant, Fritz Wenzel, said he discussed the Blade story with Schmidt on Friday morning and said she could not recall any conversations with anyone in the governor's office about Ach's business.
"This was one of hundreds of issues she faced as a legislator and it was not the kind of substantive and significant issues that she paid close attention to," Wenzel said.
The Hackett campaign called a press conference at its Batavia office where the Democrat claimed the story was more proof of his contention that Schmidt is entirely too close to the ethical problems swirling around the Taft administration.
"She's a good runner, but she can't run from her record," Hackett said, referring to his opponent's marathon running.
The Schmidt campaign put out a statement Friday afternoon saying Hackett was turning to "baseless attacks" because "his liberal Democratic views do not match up with voters of the 2nd Congressional District."
Facing an opponent in Hackett who volunteered for a seven-month tour of duty in Iraq, Schmidt plans to show her own support for the military with a Sunday rally featuring some Clermont County families who have paid a heavy price for service in Iraq.
At 3 p.m. Sunday in Union Township's Veterans Memorial Park, Schmidt will join the family of Sgt. Chuck Kiser, the Army reservist and Amelia native killed last year in Iraq; Keith Maupin, the father of Sgt. Matt Maupin, who has been listed as missing since his convoy was hit near the Baghdad airport in April 2004; and Sgt. Paul Brondhaver, a member of the Felicity-based 216th Engineer Battalion who was seriously injured while serving in Iraq last year.
Hackett, a Marine, picked up the endorsement of a four-star Army general Friday.
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, issued a statement Friday urging 2nd District voters to go to the polls Tuesday and cast a ballot for Hackett. The candidate returned from Iraq in March after a tour of duty with a Marine civil affairs unit.
Clark said Hackett's experience in Iraq "means he understands what it takes to kill our enemies, support our friends and do everything it takes to win the war on terror and keep America safe."