1348.thumbnail.gifFor Blue America, last night was fantastic. Rick Noriega, our candidate for the U.S. Senate in Texas avoided a run-off against 3 opponents and wound up with more than a million votes. So many more Democrats voted in Ohio than Republicans that it gives hope that as many as 5 congressional seats could go from red to blue, something I covered this morning at DownWithTyranny.

But no race was more startling than the one in OH-02, a district we know well from 2006, when Vic Wulsin came within 3,000 votes (out of more than 237,000 cast) of retiring one of the most loathed and extremist politicians in Washington, Mean Jean Schmidt. The numbers last night in OH-02 were eye-popping. This is a +13 R district where Gore only got 34% and Kerry got 36%. That is red– blood red. Last night it wasn’t, not at all. Discouraged Republicans largely stayed away from the polls and Hillary and Obama each beat McCain! Over 103,000 Democrats voted in the presidential primary, while only just over 47,000 Republicans showed up at the polls. And when it came to the two hotly contested congressional primaries, almost 95,000 Democrats voted and only 71,000 Republicans bothered. In the end, Vic had 55,000 votes (compared to 41,000 for Schmidt– and 27,000 for McCain).

Last night Vic overcame a tough situation. I have never seen a filthier campaign run in a Democratic primary as the one Stephen Black threw up against Vic. That might be because Stephen Black isn’t a Democrat at all, but a lifelong Republican. His campaign was run by Rahm Emanuel lapdog John Lapp, who was Emanuel’s DCCC Executive Director in 2005-06. He went after Vic straight from the Karl Rove playbook, accusing her of being too liberal for the district. When they got no traction whatsoever, and as Vic started wracking up endorsements from unions, local politicians, national organizations, even the Cincinnati Enquirer, Lapp and Black really got into the gutter. One video ad was so ugly I refused to put it on DWT even as an example of how Republican Black still is. It graphically implied that Vic injected patients with AIDS. That, my friends (to borrow a term from John W. McCain) is what you get when you allow Republicans into our party. Even after he know he had no chance to win the primary, he had every intention of damaging Vic so much with slander and filth that it would make it hard for her to recover and beat Mean Jean.

Fortunately, the media called him on his lies and, judging by the huge turnout for Vic, the voters in southwest Ohio saw through the lies and garbage. So where do we go from here? Vic is joining us today to talk about that. I just want to remind everyone that she had to spend an awful lot of money to beat back Lapp and Black and Emanuel. As she told me this morning, "My primary victory came because so many people supported us early. Blue America’s support in money and in other ways was a huge help; I couldn’t have defeated my self-financing opponent without it. And now, we can focus on Jean Schmidt and her failure to represent this district in Washington. Because I think children’s healthcare is more important than tax cuts for millionaires, and that our national security shouldn’t be a political football, as the FISA bill has become, and that we need to stop spending billions in Iraq, and start investing here at home." Please join me today in helping to put some replacement funds into Vic’s campaign war-chest.