Let’s see…. It was more than a decade ago back in 2006 that then-congressman Sherrod Brown defied conventional wisdom by running against a securely seated Republican, Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine.
The risk was clear, or so some of Brown’s Democratic political supporters feared, that he would dare give up a safe 13th District House seat to challenge a hard-right social conservative who, to this day, remains firmly in the grip of the National Rifle Association while assuming a cautious political profile that has been regularly polished by Ohio media. But it has hardly been a profile in courage in a day when so many of Brown’s colleagues on Capitol Hill who should know better still quake at the thought of defying the gun lobby.
But Brown, 65, gave little notice that he is prepared to alter his agenda to be human in serving the needs of average human beings in a speech to the Akron Press Club last week. In his often jaunty, easily accessible style with a bring-’em-on invitation to his opponents, he addressed the very issues that have been in his force field as a progressive. These included the NRA, pro-lifers, militarists, corporate donors, Wall Street “greed”, union haters, skyrocketing drug prices and a grocery list of other divisive issues that conventional candidates advise against.
His word has been the unwavering narrative of his career. In 2006, he spoke out against the Iraq war, denounced an amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and took a stand against drug costs by providing busloads of Americans an opportunity to buy lower priced drugs in Canada. Nothing has changed his concerns.
DeWine, who is running for Ohio’s governorship the year, didn’t let up on attack ads, a banal specialty he used against GOP primary opponent Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor this year. In the 2006 campaign, DeWine accused Brown of failing to pay unemployment taxes, a charge so blatant that a TV station pulled the ads after it was determined that Brown had indeed paid them.
Brown’s opponent is Wadsworth businessman and millionaire congressman, Jim Renacci. He was among the earliest Trump surrogates and is aways at the president’s side in Ohio visits. Not a penny’s worth of difference between Trump and the candidate.
Oh. Did I mention that for all of DeWine’s trouble against Brown, the Ohio State-Yale graduate defeated him by nearly 13 percentage points? So much for the Rasmussen poll and conventional wisdom that predicted a victory for the Republican senator.