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Sherrod Brown Boosting Ohio Democrats With 2012 in Mind

Brown predicted the political climate will be dramatically different in 2012, when Democratic-sponsored initiatives such as the stimulus will have had time to materialize. In November 2008, when Ohio voters handed President Barack Obama 51 percent of the vote, 7.6 percent of the state’s population was unemployed. By this August, just months before an Election Day when Democrats are expected to lose the governor’s mansion, a Senate seat and perhaps five or more House districts, Ohio’s unemployment rate had jumped to 10.1 percent, according to CQ Economy Tracker.

“The voters want to see things fixed, and in their minds, we haven’t created jobs fast enough,” Brown said. “By 2012, it will be more apparent that we’ve done much of what we promised we’d try to do.”

Batchelder agreed the economy poses problems for Brown. But he also claimed that Brown’s chances could be further complicated next cycle by tea party supporters and other motivated conservative voters who are likely to turn out to vote against Obama.

“My suspicion is that the present view of voters will continue, and it’s a real problem for someone like [Brown] in Ohio, where even many of the Democrats are conservative,” Batchelder said.

With conservative activists likely to mobilize, the GOP state House leader and other Republicans are pinning their 2012 Senate hopes on a possible run by conservative Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a second-term Member who is expected to become the next Republican Study Committee chairman.

“He’s well-liked out here,” Batchelder said.

Although his office declined to comment, Jordan, who was a University of Wisconsin wrestling phenom, certainly appears to be quietly laying the groundwork for an eventual statewide run.

According to CQ MoneyLine, the lawmaker has given away 15 percent of all of his campaign receipts this cycle to GOP campaigns and party committees around the state, including to former Rep. Steve Chabot, Rep. Patrick Tiberi and challengers Steve Stivers and Jim Renacci.

Jordan has also given $70,000 this cycle to the National Republican Congressional Committee and $18,100 to the Ohio Republican Party, according to campaign finance records. His leadership political action committee, the Buckeye Liberty PAC, has given an additional $28,000 in candidate and campaign committee contributions, campaign finance records show.

“He’d be a [expletive] monster, both in a primary and in a general,” a former Republican leadership aide said of Jordan’s 2012 Senate prospects. “That guy is one tough [expletive].”

Another Republican operative called Jordan “a pretty good fundraiser” and said “he’s pretty well respected” by party officials around the state.

A DeWine-Brown rematch is also not out the question, Republican sources said. But DeWine is running this year to be Ohio’s next attorney general, and his campaign all but ruled out a 2012 rematch this week.

“Mike DeWine has no plans to run for the U.S. Senate,” DeWine aide Mary Mertz wrote in an e-mail. “He is excited about the job of attorney general and has an aggressive agenda he is ready to implement.”

This year’s Republican nominees for state treasurer and secretary of state, Josh Mandel and Jon Husted, respectively, are also said to be considering possible 2012 Senate runs.

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