Are Democrats trying to shoot down Paul Hackett in Ohio?

Just posted at Mother Jones: “Friendly Fire,” by David Goodman.

For a candidate who just lost a congressional race, Paul Hackett has been a popular guy this fall. The tough-talking Iraq combat veteran turned a special-election fight in Ohio’s Second District into this summer’s political sleeper hit, energizing Democrats and converting Republicans in the deep-red counties outside Cincinnati and pulling 48 percent of the vote in a district where John Kerry got a mere 36 percent. Soon the national party came courting: Hackett met several times with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Chuck Schumer, chair of the Senate Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), both of whom encouraged him to run for the seat of Ohio’s senior senator, Republican Mike DeWine, in ’06. Hackett said he would—after been told by Ohio Congressman Sherrod Brown that he wasn’t planning to run—and on October 3 he publicly threw his hat in the ring.

Then, last week, his phone rang again. It was Sherrod Brown calling to tell Hackett he’d changed his mind: he was running after all. Then Schumer called, and this time he wasn’t delivering a pep talk. Hackett got the distinct sense that he was being asked to make way for the party insider. “Schumer didn’t tell me anything definitive,” he says. “But I’m not a dumb ass, and I know what he wanted me to do.”

Continue reading “Friendly Fire” at