I noted the other day that I had heard some rumors of criticisms of home-state backlash against some of the architects of the filibuster deal fall-out. Some have raised the fair point that some of the criticisms that I linked to in that post may actually be more about ideological views on votes on judges than the filibuster deal itself, especially for Democrats who signed onto the deal.
A reader from Columbus sends along word of another possible casualty of the filibuster deal on the Republican side, Pat DeWine, who this week was defeated in a stunning upset in the primary election to replace Congressman Rob Portman for the congressional seat from the Cincinnati area. Earlier reports indicated that his father's role in the filibuster pact might come back to haunt him. And, in fact, although he was a prohibitive favorite in the weeks preceding the election, DeWine finished a distant fourth in the primary field.
News reports indicate that DeWine had several problems, including some personal issues, that may have led to his fall from grace in the primaries. But some news reports indicate that his father's role in the filibuster deal played a substantial role in his reversal of fortune, and that primary voters were attacking him as a means to get at his father:
The name became something of a curse last week, when his father, the senior senator from Ohio, became part of a bipartisan group of centrist senators who brokered a deal on judicial filibusters.
That move angered many conservative Republicans nationwide and in the 2nd District, despite the younger DeWine's repeated statements that he did not agree with his father's actions.
"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree,'' said Boyd Piper Jr., a Republican voter from Clermont County.
Piper was so upset with Sen. DeWine's action that he printed a bumper sticker for his car: "1 DeWine in Congress is 1 too many.''
In fact, De Wine tried to distance himself from his father's role in the filibuster deal:
In an effort to make sure the "sin'' of the father isn't visited on the son, Republican candidate Pat DeWine made it clear Thursday he doesn't approve of the role his father, Sen. Mike DeWine, played this week in brokering a deal with Senate Democrats over judicial filibusters.
"I wouldn't have voted the way he did,'' the Hamilton County commissioner said Thursday. "If a person is appointed to the federal bench, he or she deserves an up-or-down vote.''
The elder DeWine was one of seven Senate Republican moderates who came together this week with seven Senate Democrats to hammer out a deal that allowed some of President Bush's judicial nominees to be confirmed but gave Democrats the power to block others.
Many conservative Republicans are furious at Sen. DeWine; and, on Thursday, the Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, speculated that conservative voters in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District might take their frustration out on the younger DeWine, who is generally considered the front-runner in a field of 11 GOP candidates running in the June 14 special election primary.
There was some evidence other candidates for the 2nd District GOP nomination were ready and willing to try to tie Pat DeWine to his father's actions.
"He seems to have no problems riding his father's coattails when it comes to raising money and getting name recognition; he's willing to take all the good from it and none of the bad,'' said GOP candidate Tom Brinkman Jr. of Mount Lookout. "I don't know if I believe him when he says he wouldn't have done what his father did.''
It is certainly premature to conclude whether in the long run there will be any negative (or positive) impact on the electoral fortunes of the filibuster dealers. In Cincinnati, DeWine appears to have had enough other problems that it is difficult to determine what role, if any, his father's role in the filibuster deal played in his defeat. But on the Republican side at least, it appears that conservative voters may have taken notice of the filibuster deal. It will be interesting to follow the story as it develops.