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Ohio Republican Senate Seat in Jeopardy

Though Ohio's two-term Senator Republican Mike DeWine has insisted in his campaign that he is an independent force, his ties to President Bush may cost him his re-election to the Senate. Recent polls show Democratic candidate Sherrod Brown widening his lead over DeWine.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Gwen Ifill has our Ohio report.

    SEN. MIKE DEWINE (R), Ohio: How are you? OK, what did you have, a little sauerkraut there or…

  • OHIO RESIDENT:

    Sauerkraut Sunday.

  • SEN. MIKE DEWINE:

    Sauerkraut Sunday?

  • GWEN IFILL:

    In any other election year, Republican Senator Mike DeWine would not have to be hunting for votes at the Waynesville, Ohio, Sauerkraut Festival.

  • OHIO RESIDENT:

    Potatoes, sauerkraut, olives, cheddar cheese…

  • SEN. MIKE DEWINE:

    Good to see you. Thank you for inviting me.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    But this is no ordinary year for DeWine or for Ohio. Corruption scandals, a depressed state economy, a divided Republican Party all have combined to cast significant storm clouds over DeWine's political future.

    So why is this race so close?

  • SEN. MIKE DEWINE:

    The race is close because Ohio's a competitive state. I mean, look at the last couple of presidential campaigns. We were a state that for years elected John Glenn, Howard Metzenbaum at the same time we were voting for a Republican presidents and sometimes Republican governors. When I was elected, I was the first Republican to be elected to the Senate in a quarter of a century. So it's a competitive state.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    But it wasn't so hard for you last time.

  • SEN. MIKE DEWINE:

    No, but obviously we have different situations today. You know, we've had scandals in the statehouse in Washington or in the statehouse in Columbus, and that's been a problem. The president's popularity is certainly not what it was. The Republican governor's popularity is not where it should be. So there are issues there.

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