Actually, two thoughts, both of which will be vastly overshadowed by the news of the man leaving the race.
First, not that his staff’s well-being should be topmost in his mind, but his apparently sudden decision to cast it all aside really doesn’t reflect well upon him. For example, Karl Frisch (whom many of you knew from blogging fame as Carl-with-a-K) was the man’s press secretary. Up until the bitter end, he was stoutly claiming that Hackett was sticking it out. Did he know that Hackett was withdrawing? I doubt it.
Fair or not, lots of folks like this gave up their lives and placed them on hold to help this guy win an election. They deserved better than a snap decision to quit. The more I look at this, the more this looks like a sudden, snap, spur-of-the-moment decision, complete with the histrionic, dramatic withdrawal from the political arena.
This guy’s a lot of things, but dull isn’t one of them; he’s pretty sharp. My guess is that he’ll regret this decision and he’ll wind up running for Congress. You heard it here first. I could be wrong; if so, that’s fine. But Hackett’s one of those guys who enjoys the limelight too much, and he’s much too polished to just sit around complaining about politics at dinner.
Second, overshadowed in all of this drama was state Sen. Eric Fingerhut’s decision to drop out of the race for Governor of Ohio. Fingerhut ran for the U.S. Senate two years ago against George Voinovich, and got waxed pretty badly, which is how you probably heard of him. He was also a Congressman back in the early ’90s, but lost his seat in the 1994 GOP tsunami.
At any rate, for the better part of last year, the race for Governor was a two-man race between Ted Strickland and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman (full disclosure: I went to high school with Mayor Coleman’s son J.D., and I know both the Mayor and his wife fairly well).
Had Mayor Coleman stuck with the race, and won the nomination, it would have set up an unprecedented race between two black men–Mayor Coleman and OH Secretary of State Ken Blackwell–for the Governorship. Despite what most folks thought, I thought the race between Coleman and Strickland was wide open.
Coleman, however, ended up suffering some personal family issues and decided to take care of them–so he withdrew from the race. For a while, it seemed that Strickland would be unopposed, save for the token challenge from former state Representative Bryan Flannery.
Enter Fingerhut. He joined the race about three weeks ago, but he was never able to get traction. He also wasn’t able to find a running mate; in Ohio, you have to petition to file for the primary ballot for Governor with a running mate for Lieutenant Governor. His first choice, Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin, turned him down, probably because she thought his campaign was doomed. Fingerhut was concentrating on finding a non-political person to run with him, and unable to find that person, decided instead to withdraw.
His withdrawal, however, was utterly classy. He released a letter to his donors and supporters, and with a press conference tomorrow, will make it official.