When Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett lost a close race for Congress in Ohio earlier this summer, Democrats saw in his defeat signs of hope for future victories. Those hopes may come into play sooner than anyone anticipated: According to the Cincinnati Post, Hackett may soon be a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine is up for reelection in 2006, and he's not a big favorite to retain his seat. As the Cincinnati Posts notes, DeWine's approval rating is down in the low 40s, and the senator lost the love of the religious right when he joined in the "Gang of 14" compromise that blocked Bill Frist from going nuclear on judicial nominees.
DeWine may be ripe for a challenge -- the indictment last week of Ohio's Republican governor won't help him any -- but the Democrats haven't settled on a strong candidate yet. That's where Hackett could come in. Relying on an unidentified "Washington insider," the Post says that Hackett is seriously considering a run for DeWine's seat.
Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, told the Post that he talked with Hackett about a Senate run and other options last week. "He caught lightning in the bottle in that congressional race and has continued even since then to draw some national attention,'' Burke said. "The Senate is, I think, an option that he ought to be considering."