Schmidt declares victory
Rep. Jean Schmidt declared victory tonight at a TV studio in the basement of the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Her audience? Chief of Staff Barry Bennett, another staffer, a cameraman, this Enquirer reporter and a photographer.
On Bennett's cell phone, however, Schmidt gushed to her supporters, gathered at a victory party back in southern Ohio:
"Guys, we pulled this off! You guys are awesome. You're the best.
"Thanks a lot for sticking through this horrible weather to get me across the victory line. You guys are the best."
A woman on the other line said: "It's still raining here."
To which Schmidt responded: "I owe you big time!"
Then, she started in on her questions about the other races: "Who's leading in the commissioner's race?" she asked.
A few minutes later, after discussing several local races, Schmdit said: "Listen, guys, go get some sleep. You guys are wonderful. Thank you all so much."
And that was it. Asked if that phone call meant she had declared victory, Schmidt gave a smirk.
"Oh YEAH," she said. "And my best victory yet."
This was Schmidt's 5th race in the 2nd District since 2005.
She won an 11-way Special Election GOP primary and tough general election against Democrat Paul Hackett in 2005 to replace former Rep. Rob Portman. In 2006, she won another tough GOP primary against former Rep. Bob McEwen and then a close race against Democrat Victoria Wulsin.