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Paul Hackett (center) and his wife, Suzi

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Lewis Hackett III (born March 30, 1962) is a lawyer and veteran of the Iraq War who unsuccessfully sought election to the United States Congress from the Second District of Ohio in the August 2, 2005, special election. Hackett, a Democrat, narrowly lost to Republican Jean Schmidt, a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives, providing the best showing in the usually solidly Republican district by any Democrat since the 1974 election. Hackett's campaign attracted national attention and substantial expenditures by both parties. It was viewed by some observers as the first round of the 2006 elections. In October 2005, Hackett said he would seek the Democratic nomination in 2006 to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Mike DeWine; however, he dropped out of the race on February 14, 2006, and said that he would return to his law practice.

On April 9, 2009, Hackett, acting as defense counsel to Sgt. Ryan Weemer, USMC, obtained an acquittal on charges of murdering an insurgent in Fallujah on November 9, 2004, the Second Battle of Fallujah's first day. Weemer had contacted Hackett two years earlier after he had successfully represented other Marines charged with violations of the law of war in Haditha in November 2005. Hackett represented Weemer pro bono. When asked why, Hackett stated that "these Marines protected me when I was in Fallujah, it's the least I could do." The trial lasted two weeks after which the 8 member court martial deliberated for 8 hours and announced its decision acquitting Weemer of all charges and specifications, to unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty.


Hackett, who The New York Times said is six foot two and "garrulous, profane, and quick with a barked retort or a mischievous joke", was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Paul and Beth Hackett, who lived at the time in Gates Mills. When an infant, his family moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, where his father worked for the Pratt and Whitney aircraft engine company. Before Hackett started school, his family returned to Ohio when his father took a job with the General Electric Company's aircraft engine division in Evendale, a Cincinnati suburb. Hackett lived in the Ohio towns of Wyoming, Montgomery and Indian Hill, and attended the Seven Hills School and Indian Hill High School.

He has a B.A. from Case Western Reserve University and a J.D. from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. Hackett also attended American University in Washington, D.C., studying under the university's Washington Semester program in Journalism. Hackett was admitted to the Ohio bar on November 7, 1988, and practices law in downtown Cincinnati with the Hackett Law Office, which he opened in 1994.

Hackett saw active duty in the United States Marine Corps from 1989 to 1992, and then joined the Select Marine Corps Reserve. In 2004, he volunteered for active duty in the Iraq War, spending seven months as a civil affairs officer with the 4th Civil Affairs Group of the 1st Marine Division. He was assigned to Ramadi and supported the Fallujah campaign and reconstruction efforts there. On October 21, 2004, a convoy under his command was hit by two roadside bombs, but Hackett was uninjured. He returned to Ohio in early 2005.

Hackett is married to Suzanne (Suzi) C. Hackett. They have three children, Grace (born 1997), Seamus (born 2000), and Liam (born 2003). The family lives in Indian Hill, an affluent Cincinnati suburb, on a small farm along the Little Miami River built in 1802.

Milford council[]

Hackett was elected to the city council of Milford, Ohio, a city in Clermont and Hamilton Counties, in 1995 to replace Chris Imbus, who was recalled from office by a vote of 410 to 86. In the recall election on May 2, he defeated businessman Jacques E. Smith by a vote of 388 to 81. On the Milford council, he opposed efforts to rezone a parcel of land in order to retain the Milford post office within the city limits. He resigned from the council in September 1998 to devote more time to his family and his law practice and was replaced on the council by James Gradolf. When Hackett purchased a home in Indian Hill in 2000, the purchase made The Cincinnati Enquirer's column of most expensive real-estate transactions in the area.

Race for Congress[]

The State of Ohio, showing the Second District

Detailed Map of Ohio's Second Congressional District

Hackett decided to run for Congress because "with all that this country has given me, I felt it wasn't right for me to be enjoying life in Indian Hill when Marines were fighting and dying in Iraq," he told The Cincinnati Post. Hackett told the Dayton Daily News his friend Mike Brautigam, who met him at the airport upon his return, had told him Rob Portman, congressman since 1993, was resigning to become United States Trade Representative and Hackett should run for his seat. Hackett decided to enter the race before reaching home.

Special primary election[]

In his bid for Congress, Hackett was endorsed by the county Democratic parties in four of the seven counties in the district, those in Brown, Clermont, Hamilton and Pike counties. Party leaders chose to support him rather than Charles W. Sanders, the only black candidate in either primary and the Democratic nominee in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004. Timothy Burke, chairman of the party in Hamilton County, said "The blunt reality is that Charles Sanders can't win the 2nd District seat." David Altman, a Cincinnati attorney who was on the party central committee, was also skeptical of Sanders, telling The Cincinnati Post "I don't think he has a snowball's chances of winning."

Many were angered by the endorsement. Todd Portune, the first Democrat elected to the Hamilton County Commission in decades, told The Post "That's not the Democratic Party I'm a part of," saying the party should remain neutral. Victoria Wells Wulsin, a doctor from Indian Hill who ran a charity helping AIDS patients in Africa, also sought the nomination; the Hamilton County endorsement dismayed her. "It smacks of weapons of mass destruction," she told The Post.

Other candidates running were Jeff Sinnard, a civil engineer from Anderson Township, and the most conservative Democrat; James John Parker, a hospital administrator from Pike County; and Arthur Stanley Katz, a lawyer originally from New York City who had retired to Mason, who ran as a write-in candidate.

Hackett was also endorsed by labor unions: the United Auto Workers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Greater Cincinnati Building and Construction Trades Council.

The Dayton Daily News endorsed Hackett in the Democratic primary, calling him an "articulate, down-to-earth exponent of moderate Democratic views." The Cincinnati Enquirer also endorsed Hackett in the primary. The newspaper editorialized "he is not an ideologue, but someone willing to listen to different points of view and to act on the basis of what he believes will best serve his constituents." It also called attention to his leading a recall against members of the Milford city council and "his ability to take charge of a situation, whether it is a dysfunctional local government in Ohio, or setting up the basics of a civil government in a city in Iraq."

Hackett told The Cincinnati Enquirer that the Iraq War has not been worth the price. "We need to develop an exit strategy and execute it. That strategy must commit 100% of our efforts to training the 140,000 Iraqi soldiers to do the jobs that the United States is doing now. We cannot again falsely declare victory." Hackett also told The Enquirer he was the best candidate because of his service in Iraq.[1]

Hackett won the Democratic nomination with over half the vote in unofficial results. A total of 13,927 ballots were cast representing 3.05% of the 456,795 registered voters in the district and 23.4% of the 59,538 ballots cast in both primaries.

Special general election[]

Jean Schmidt, the Republican nominee for Congress

Hackett faced Republican nominee Jean Schmidt in the August 2, 2005, special election. Schmidt, a former schoolteacher described by The New York Times as "small, wiry, and intense, she exudes seriousness", had been a township trustee in northwestern Clermont County's populous Miami Township for eleven years before four years in the Ohio House of Representatives.

The district was a Republican one. In 2004, 64 percent of the vote in the presidential election went to George W. Bush. Rob Portman never got less than 70 percent of the vote in his campaigns, no Democrat had received more than 38 percent since Thomas A. Luken's narrow loss to Willis D. Gradison in 1974, and no Democrat had won the district in a regular general election since John J. Gilligan in 1964. (Luken held the seat in 1974 after winning a special election to replace William J. Keating, who resigned, but lost the November election for a full term.) Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report said the Second District was the fifty-seventh most Republican in America.

John Green, a political science professor at the University of Akron in northeast Ohio told USA Today "It's a real steep uphill climb for him. It is such a Republican district." Jane S. Anderson, an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati who has unsuccessfully run for the Cincinnati city council and the Ohio House as a Democrat, told the Associated Press

It's definitely worth it to the Democrats to put in the effort if only to keep the party energized. Even if Paul Hackett loses, it is very important for the party for him to do well. It could be seen as a sign of opportunities for Democrats in other GOP strongholds.

Hackett was undaunted by the Republican composition of the district, claiming:

No single party owns this district. It's not a Republican district, it's not a Democratic district. It's actually the seat of the citizens of the Second District. They deserve an opportunity to make an informed decision as to who will represent them in Washington, D.C.

Martin Gottlieb, editor of the Dayton Daily News editorial page, wrote a Republican landslide in the district was "a self-fulfilling prophecy":

It is so overwhelmingly Republican that Democrats typically don't make a real effort as a party. A candidate puts himself up, but generally it's somebody who has no political strengths and gets no financial contributions or volunteer help to speak of. The campaign gets little attention. And the prophecy gets fulfilled.

Criticism of Schmidt[]

Hackett criticized Jean Schmidt as a "rubber stamp" for Ohio Governor Bob Taft's "failed policies" and said she would continue in that role for George W. Bush if elected. At their debate at Chatfield College, he said "If you think America is on the right track and we need more of the same, I'm not your candidate" and asked "Are you better off today than you were five years ago?", echoing Ronald Reagan's question in his debate with Jimmy Carter in 1980. "Rubber stamp" was Hackett's catchphrase throughout the campaign. Hackett even appeared in front of the Hathaway Rubber Stamp store in downtown Cincinnati on July 27, to emphasize the point.

"If you think America needs another career politician steeped in a culture of corruption who does as she's told and tows [sic] the line on failed policies, then I'm not your candidate," he wrote in a guest column for The Cincinnati Post. Hackett hammered on Schmidt's ethics. When she denied she knew or ever met Thomas Noe, at the center of the Coingate scandal at the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, Hackett produced minutes from a meeting of the Ohio Board of Regents that showed Schmidt had indeed met with Noe, once a regent.[citation needed]

He laid out his positions in that Post column:

I'm for limiting government. I'm for fiscal responsibility. I'm for a strong national defense. I'm for fair trade. This means I don't need Washington to tell me how to live my personal life or worship my God. And I don't need Washington to dictate what decisions my wife can make with her doctor any more than I need Washington to tell me what guns I keep in my gun safe. I fought for Iraq's freedom, not to come back and have a government tell me I can't have my freedom because the world is too dangerous. Our freedoms are what make America great and desirable to the rest of the world and any government that wants to take away its people's freedoms under the pretense of national security is what makes the world more dangerous.

Hackett was highly critical of his opponent's record. On June 12, he went to Nicola's Ristorante on Sycamore Street in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood to call attention to Schmidt and other members of the Ohio General Assembly having accepted dinner there and Cincinnati Bengals tickets from a lobbyist for pharmaceutical company Chiron, Richard B. Colby, on October 24, 2004 and failing to report the gifts on their financial disclosure statements. (The others were Representatives Jim Raussen of Springdale, Michelle G. Schneider of Madeira, and Diana M. Fessler of New Carlisle.) "What will she do in Washington when she's around real big money?" Hackett asked.

The Cincinnati Enquirer ran a front page story on July 2, reporting on the candidates financial disclosure statements that revealed both were millionaires. Hackett was worth between $650,000 and $1,600,000, while Schmidt was worth between $1,700,000 and $6,800,000, most of her wealth in the form of a real estate company owned with her three siblings, RTJJ, LLC. These figures did not include the value of either's home. The Hamilton County Auditor valued Hackett's home on 5 acres (20,000 m2) at $552,800 and the Clermont County Auditor valued Schmidt's home on .667 acres (2,700 m2) at $138,510.

Hackett told The Enquirer, "I'm a self-made guy. I didn't inherit it. I didn't marry for it. What you see is what I made in the last decade." The newspaper noted the median household income in the district was $46,813. Schmidt used her own wealth in the campaign. She told The Cincinnati Post the week before the election she put $200,000 of her money in the campaign that she had planned to use to buy a condominium in Florida.

Hackett was a strong advocate for the Second Amendment, but nevertheless lost the endorsement of the National Rifle Association to Jean Schmidt. Hackett, a long-time NRA member and holder of a concealed carry permit, told The Enquirer "I don't know what I have to do. I've gone against the grain in the Democratic party. There isn't a bigger gun enthusiast than me." (A spokesman for the NRA said the endorsement was based on Schmidt's voting record in the Ohio House and that Hackett, having only served on a city council, did not have the voting record Schmidt did.) Schmidt also won the endorsements of the Fraternal Order of Police. The FOP's Keith Fangman criticized Hackett: "He has a track record of filing frivolous and malicious lawsuits against law enforcement officers in Clermont County," said Fangman because Hackett had represented a plaintiff in a suit against a Clermont County police officer. "That's what lawyers do," Hackett told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "We're not in the business of filing lawsuits we know are frivolous or malicious."

Both candidates talked of the environment. Hackett paddled down the Ohio River to call attention to its condition. Schmidt called for reducing America's dependence on foreign oil by increasing use of ethanol and drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Hackett opposed drilling in ANWR.

The candidates participated in only two debates. The first was held on July 7, at Chatfield College in St. Martin in Brown County, moderated by Jack Atherton of WXIX-TV, the Fox Network affiliate in Cincinnati. Hackett told the audience his opponent was "a rubber stamp for failed policies" and "if you think America is on the right track and we need more of the same, I'm not your candidate." The second debate was held July 26, at the Ohio Valley Career and Technical School in West Union in Adams County. Howard Wilkinson of The Cincinnati Enquirer said Hackett in the second debate was "trying to paint Schmidt as a Taft-Bush robot." The two also made joint appearances on WCET-TV's Forum on July 28, and WKRC-TV's Newsmakers on July 31.

Hackett held campaign rallies in Waverly in the far eastern end of the district on July 11,; in Loveland on July 19,; Mariemont on July 20,; and Lebanon, the northernmost part of the district, on July 21,. Hackett arrived at many events on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

National attention on the race[]

Hackett attracted national attention to what had always been considered a safe Republican district. The New York Times ran a front-page story on him and articles appeared in USA Today and The Washington Post. USA Today wrote "if Democrats could design a dream candidate to capitalize on national distress about the war in Iraq, he would look a lot like the tall, telegenic Marine Reserve major who finished a seven-month tour of Iraq in March."

Schmidt made the Iraq War an issue in the race. She declared on WCET-TV's Forum that "9/11 was a wakeup call. We lost our innocence" and praised the Bush foreign policy. "The foundation of democracy that has been planted in Afghanistan and Iraq", she said, has inspired reforms in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere. Schmidt always appeared in public with a button in her lapel containing a photograph of Matt Maupin, the only prisoner of war of the Iraq campaign. Hackett did not mince words about Iraq or President Bush. He told The New York Times Bush was "a chicken hawk" for pursuing the war after having avoided military service in the Vietnam War. The Times also quoted him as saying Bush was "the greatest threat to America." Hackett in the West Union debate contrasted what President Bush had said in the 2000 presidential debates to current events. "Guess what folks? We're nation-building!"

On July 19, Democratic campaign operative James Carville appeared at a fund-raiser for Hackett in downtown Cincinnati that raised $100,000. On July 21, Max Cleland, formerly a United States Senator from Georgia, campaigned for Hackett at a rally in Blue Ash. John Glenn, the astronaut who later represented Ohio in the United States Senate, sent out an e-mail asking Democrats to volunteer for Hackett, and Glenn campaigned with him on July 30, in Cincinnati. Retired general and presidential candidate Wesley Clark also endorsed Hackett. Hackett also received campaign contributions from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the United Auto Workers, Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown, and talk show host and former Cincinnati mayor Jerry Springer.

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean sent out an e-mail appeal for Hackett which, combined with work by bloggers, helped raise over $475,000 in online contributions for Hackett, making him the first Democratic nominee in the Second District in years who could afford television advertisements. Hackett's ad began with a clip of President George W. Bush speaking to troops at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on June 28, 2005, "There is no higher calling than service in our armed forces." Hackett's commercial then noted his service in the Marine Corps. The Washington Post noted the commercial "avoids any hint that the lawyer is a Democrat." Republicans were displeased. The Republican National Committee's lawyers wrote him saying the commercial deceived the public with "the false impression the President has endorsed your candidacy." Robert T. Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, told The Cincinnati Post the commercials were "a blatant effort to dupe voters."

The National Republican Congressional Committee, the official Republican Party body that helps candidates for the United States House of Representatives, announced on July 28, it was spending $265,000 for television ads in the Cincinnati market, covering the western part of the district, and $250,000 for ads in the Huntington, West Virginia, market, covering the eastern half. Carl Forti told The Cincinnati Enquirer "we decided to bury him" after Hackett told USA Today, in a story published that morning, "I don't like the son-of-a-bitch that lives in the White House but I'd put my life on the line for him." Forti said the NRCC had "no concern that she will lose. She will not lose."

The NRCC ran commercials noting Hackett had voted for tax increases while on the Milford council and quoting his statement on his website that he would be "happy" to pay higher taxes. The full quotation, in regards to raising the cap of $90,000 that Social Security payroll taxes are levied on was

I for one would be paying more in Social Security taxes, but I’d be happy to. Why? Because we’ve all made a commitment to pass on a better America to our children. Our parents kept their word to us, and we have the same obligation. This pledge is a cornerstone of the American way of life. Those of us who have enjoyed success have a duty to uphold this commitment to our future generations.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the NRCC's counterpart, responded with commercials noting that Schmidt had voted to raise the sales tax by 20 percent and the excise tax on gasoline by 30 percent when she was in the legislature. A mailing to voters by the DCCC reiterated these statements under the headline "Who Voted for the Taft Sales Tax Increase—the Largest in Ohio History?" and asked "can we trust Jean Schmidt to protect middle-class families in Washington?"

The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, a Cincinnati-based group founded by Tom Brinkman (who lost the GOP primary to Schmidt), began running ads in the last week of July urging voters to skip the election. COAST's president, Jim Urling, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that this might help elect Hackett, but "we think it will be easier to remove a Democrat next year than an incumbent Republican posing as a conservative."

In the general election, the Democratic Dayton Daily News endorsed Hackett. The Daily News said Schmidt's attacks on Senators R. Michael DeWine and George V. Voinovich were "remarkably classless" and "seemed to be saying that voters who like legislators who exercise occasional independence from their party should not vote for her." The Daily News said Hackett was "not your classic suburban liberal" and urged "voter[s] looking for something beyond a conventional political background" to support him. The Cincinnati Post also endorsed Hackett. It noted Schmidt is the latest in a line of "Republican patricians" and "likely to be a dependable vote for the Bush administration" whereas Hackett is a gust of fresh air. If we had to put a label on him, it would be Libertarian Democrat. He says what he thinks and doesn't seem to have much use for the orthodoxy or the partisanship of either party."

The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote

Hackett is an attractive candidate with many qualities to admire . . . bright, personable and charismatic, with an aura of leadership. That he put a comfortable career on hold and put himself at great risk to serve his country merits our respect and thanks . . . But some of the positions he's staked seem simplistic and not terribly well thought-out. He says the entire Patriot Act should be rejected—even those provisions that actually have enhanced Americans' civil liberties. He dismisses No Child Left Behind as "Orwellian." Hackett is also a critic of President Bush's tax cuts.

Ultimately, the newspaper did not endorse Hackett. "The 2nd District will get a capable representative no matter which candidate prevails Tuesday. But it should get more local bang for its electoral buck if it sends Jean Schmidt to Washington," wrote the editors.

General election results[]

Hackett ultimately lost by a narrow margin, only 3.27 percent, the best showing of any Democrat in the district since 1974. These were the final certified numbers as reported on the Ohio Secretary of State's website.[2]

Candidate Party Adams Brown Clermont Hamilton Pike Scioto Warren Totals
Jean Schmidt Republican 1,905 3,117 17,437 25,369 1,561 2,659 7,623 59,671
Paul Hackett Democratic 2,158 3,969 12,544 24,105 2,675 4,959 5,476 55,886
James J. Condit, Jr. (write in) 0 3 3 7 0 0 2 15
James E. Constable, Jr. (write in) 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 4

Reaction to the results[]

Howard Wilkinson wrote in The Cincinnati Enquirer the morning after the election "the fact that Paul Hackett made it a very close election is nothing short of astounding... com[ing] close to pulling off a monumental political upset." Hackett won in the eastern, rural counties of Pike, Scioto, Brown, and Adams, while Schmidt won in the populous western counties of Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren. The Cincinnati Post editorialized Hackett's success in the eastern counties was in part from "the increasingly desperate struggle in rural areas to provide enough decent jobs for those who want them."

Following the election, many Democrats hailed the election as showing the weakness of Ohio's Republican party, which had been in control of Ohio state government for a decade, and public unhappiness with President Bush's policies. Hamilton County Democratic chairman Timothy Burke was delighted. "Paul was very critical of this president in a district that Bush carried easily last November, yet she barely hung on to win. There's a clear signal in that," he told The Cincinnati Post on election night. The Clermont County Democratic chairman, Dave Lane, told the Dayton Daily News "Here we are in the reddest of red districts and it was very, very close."

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee claimed in a press release Hackett's strong showing meant trouble for Senator DeWine's re-election campaign in 2006, especially since his son R. Patrick DeWine had lost the Republican primary for the seat. "If Ohio is a bellwether state for next year's midterm elections, things don't look too good for the Republicans", claimed the DSCC. Republicans said the election meant nothing of the sort. "There is no correlation between what happens in a special election, where turnout is very low and you have circumstances that just aren't comparable to an election that happens on an Election Day in an election year," Brian Nick of the National Republican Senatorial Committee told The Cincinnati Post.

The Columbus Dispatch referred to "the trauma of barely winning a Congressional district long dominated by Republicans" and quoted an anonymous source in the Republican party claiming "there is not a tougher environment in the country than Ohio right now. There is kind of a meltdown happening." Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report told the Dispatch "Ohio becomes the microcosm for the debate Democrats are trying to have nationally" and Democrats would argue in future campaigns "'See what happens when one party rules too long, see what happens with corruption and insider influence.'" Her boss, Charlie Cook, told The Los Angeles Times Hackett's "rubber stamp" charge had resonated with Ohio voters.

Peter W. Bronson, a conservative columnist for The Cincinnati Enquirer, wrote "Hackett's surprising finish was less a repudiation of Bush than a repudiation of Ohio Governor Bob Taft, whose name is now officially radioactive poison." Bronson admitted Hackett "ran a strong campaign" but said he did so well only because of "the ugly primary" on the Republican side, fears that Schmidt was "another Taft RINO" (i.e., "Republican In Name Only"), and apathy by Republican voters, not dissatisfaction with Bush or Republicans in general.

John Nichols of the The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin) saw it differently. "The district had been so radically gerrymandered by Republican governors and legislators that it was all but unrecognizable that a Democrat could ever be competitive there" and Hackett, "a smart telegenic Iraq war veteran," had been "swift-boated" in the final days of the campaign by Republican operatives and "right-wing talk hosts" such as Rush Limbaugh.

Mark Steyn, a conservative columnist who writes for National Review magazine, wrote in the Irish Times "Paul Hackett was like a fast-forward version of the John Kerry campaign" who "artfully neglected to mention the candidate was a Democrat." Steyn claimed any Democratic efforts to present Hackett's run as a success for the party were absurd.

Hackett told The Cincinnati Post he stood by his criticisms of George W. Bush:

Meant it, said it, stand by it. I'd say it again. For every vote I may have lost because of it. I probably picked up one or two.

One voter turned off was veteran Arthur Smith of Loveland, whose letter to the editor in The Cincinnati Enquirer on August 5, said Hackett

attempted to fool the voters by masking the stench of his liberalism, using President Bush and the uniform of the military as a deodorant... I voted for the tax-raising Schmidt but had to hold my nose to do it. I figured it was the lesser of the two evils.

Jerome Armstrong stated in that the returns tapped into the growing movement within the Democratic Party willing to take the Republicans head on about the direction of this nation.

Former President Bill Clinton recognized Hackett in an October 23, 2006, speech saying “I hope Paul Hackett sees that his courage to make people see the truth about our policy in Iraq, is now sweeping the nation.”[3]

2006 campaign[]

Hackett on October 24, 2005, announced he would seek the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent United States Senator Mike DeWine after rejecting a second run against Schmidt. Sherrod Brown, a congressman from northern Ohio and two-term Ohio Secretary of State, had rejected efforts by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to recruit him to the race in the summer of 2005 and had on August 17, publicly declared he would not run. But after Hackett's announcement, Brown changed his mind and declared he would run, angering Hackett who claimed Brown had promised him he would stay out of the race, a claim Brown denies.

On February 13, 2006, Hackett announced that he was withdrawing from the race and ending his political career. Hackett told the New York Times that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and New York Senator Chuck Schumer recently had asked him to withdraw. He further contends that Schumer sabotaged his fundraising efforts and actively worked against his campaign.[4] Hackett said, "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."[5] On March 14, 2006, he appeared on an episode of The Daily Show on a segment which satirized the mainstream Democratic Party's criticism of Hackett.[6]

One issue Hackett faced in his campaign is the status of his Marine Corps Reserve unit, which may deploy back to Iraq during the campaign. Hackett had said he expected to return to Iraq in 2006.[7]

Hackett later reconciled with Brown and backed his successful Senate campaign.[8]

No rematch against Schmidt[]

Following the exit from the Senate race, Hackett declined to enter the race for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District against Jean Schmidt, because he promised the Democratic candidates in that race that he would not run. As a result a number of candidates threw their names into the race, and Hackett kept his promise. Therefore, on May 2, Victoria Wulsin (who came second to Hackett in the 2005 Democratic primary to fill the vacancy caused by Portman's resignation) won the Democratic primary to challenge Schmidt. On May 8, The Cincinnati Enquirer speculated on the possibility that Wulsin would drop out, and allow Hackett to run in her place.[9] This scenario did not occur, so there was no rematch.


After withdrawing from the Senate race, Paul Hackett joined the Advisory Board of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America political action committee (PAC)[10] to support his fellow veterans running for Congress.

Hackett has also done some talk radio by substituting for Jerry Springer on his Air America Radio show Springer on the Radio,[11] as well as for Ed Schultz on his show. It is not known whether Hackett wishes to continue working in talk radio.

On May 30, 2006, Hackett filed a class action lawsuit against the United States Department of Veterans Affairs over the compromise of personal information of 26.5 million veterans which may have fallen into the hands of a thief.[12]

On February 17, 2010, Hackett endorsed Surya Yalamanchili in the Democratic primary for the Second District of Ohio.

See also[]

  • Election results, U.S. Representative from Ohio, 2nd District
  • Ohio U.S. Senate election, 2006


  1. "A pair of fighters". July 24, 2005. 
  2. "Election Results: 2nd Congressional District: August 2, 2005". Ohio Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2005-12-26. 
  3. "Live Blogging III, Clinton: We are the progressive and conservative party". Ohio Democratic Party Blog. October 23, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. 
  4. "Iraq vet Hackett drops out of Ohio Senate race". February 14, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-02-16. 
  5. "Hackett statement on pullout from Ohio Senate campaign". The Raw Story. February 14, 2006. 
  6. "Couldn't Hackett: Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett is told not to run for U.S. Senate by other Democrats, so Ed Helms gives a quick tutorial on not having beliefs". The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. March 14, 2006. 
  7. [1][dead link]
  8. "Paul Hackett on Hardball". Crooks and Liars. August 21, 2006. 
  9. "Will Hackett get a rematch with Schmidt?". May 8, 2006. 
  10. "Paul Hackett Joins Board of Iraq and Afghanistan Vets PAC". Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Political Action Committee. 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-03-06. 
  11. [2][dead link]
  12. "Paul Hackett sues Veterans Affairs: Former candidate, other veterans cite information theft". May 31, 2006. 

External links[]

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