COLUMBUS -- Supporters of Ohio Republicans can't have enjoyed their morning coffee too much today, as this morning's Columbus Dispatch delivered yet more bad news, this time with a banner headline: "Ney Quits, 'Seven Weeks Too Late.'"
The resignation of Rep. Bob Ney, the Ohio congressman who pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and false statements almost a month ago -- and agreed to do so all the way back in September -- originally seemed timed to the traditional Friday afternoon news dump, and perhaps Ney and others hoped the story would be lost in the frenzy of election weekend. (It's also possible that Ney was just waiting as long as possible before resigning -- as we noted yesterday, by hanging on until now, Ney has managed to collect thousands of dollars in salary.) Judging by the Dispatch's story, though, it hasn't played quite that way. Instead, state Republicans are infuriated with the fallen congressman.
"It's about damn time," Robert Bennett, chairman of the state Republican Party, told the Dispatch, saying Ney had given "no consideration" to the political fortunes of his party.
This news is just one more in a series of hard blows for Republicans in this pivotal swing state, key to the party's victory in 2004. Their major candidates are nearly all in trouble this year, and this news -- and the reaction to it by local press and politicians -- can't be cheering anyone up, as they ponder what effect it might have on get-out-the-vote efforts here.