from Democratic Party officials, Iraq war veteran Paul
Hackett, a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, abruptly
ended his candidacy for an Ohio U.S. Senate seat on
Monday and said he would drop out of politics
altogether. According to Hackett, Democratic leaders,
including senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry
Reid of Nevada, pushed him to end his Senate bid
because they felt he could not topple incumbent
Republican senator Mike DeWine.
an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been
forced on me," Hackett told The New York
Times. "For me, this is a second betrayal.
First, my government misused and mismanaged the
military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to
support candidates like me."
Hackett became a
dark horse in last year's race for a U.S.
representative seat in a heavily Republican Ohio
district. Though unsuccessful, he scored an impressive
number of votes after criticizing President Bush and
the Iraq war. In January of this year, Hackett told an Ohio
newspaper that denying gays and lesbians equal rights
leaders are pushing longtime congressman Sherrod Brown for
this year's contentious Ohio Senate race, seen as
critical to Democrats retaking Congress this fall.
Reid wouldn't comment on Hackett's decision,
but Phil Singer, a spokesman for Schumer, denied Hackett was
forced out of the race. "We've told both
Sherrod Brown and Paul Hackett that avoiding a primary
will make it easier to win the Ohio Senate seat,"
Singer told the Times. "Obviously, the
decision to run is Mr. Hackett's and Mr.
officials claimed the decision to back off Hackett was
practical. Brown's war chest tallied $2.37 million by
last year, 10 times what Hackett had. But some
political pundits questioned the decision to push
Hackett out. "Hackett is seen by many as a straight talker,
and he became an icon to the liberal bloggers
because he says exactly what they have wished they
would hear from a politician," political
analyst Jennifer Duffy told the Times. "On the
other hand, the Senate is still an exclusive club, and the
party expects a certain level of decorum that Hackett
has not always shown." (Advocate.com)
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