An analysis of the November 7th vote shows that Democrat Sherrod Brown ran a far stronger race than Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senate candidates have run in the past 12 years. Since 1994, up until this year, Republicans had totally dominated Ohio's Senate contests.
The numbers don't lie and these are the numbers:
DeWine (R) 53%
Hyatt (D) 39%
Voinovich (R) 56%
Boyle (D) 44%
DeWine (R) 60%
T. Celeste (D) 36%
Voinovich (R) 64%
Fingerhut (D) 36%
Brown (D) 56%
DeWine (R) 44%
In the 10 year period from 1994 to 2004, Republican U.S. Senate candidates averaged 58% of the vote while Democratic candidates only averaged 39% of the vote. This meant that the average Republican victory margin during that period was 19% of the vote. Such an average meant that Democratic U.S. Senate candidates took "a thumpin" from 1994 to 2004.
Sherrod Brown changed that. He beat incumbent Mike DeWine by 12% of the vote. That is huge-particularly in light of the miserable results Democratic candidates obtained during the 1994-2004 period.
The question thus becomes: Why did Sherrod Brown do so well? Although a full answer might depend of more detailed number crunching, a preliminary analysis shows that Sherrod Brown created a strong campaign organization and, just as importantly, talked about issues in a way that appealed to most Ohioans.
Ohio's Democrats would do well to learn these two lessons from Sherrod Brown. One, if you want to win a statewide campaign you need to put together a strong campaign organization. Two, you need to talk about issues that interest most Ohioans, and take political positions that appeal to most Ohioans.
This may sound simplistic but it is something that Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senate candidates were unable to do from 1994-2004.
Mr. Mann is a Columbus attorney who has long been interested in politics.