Brown strips important Senate seat from DeWine

Ben Breier

CLEVELAND — Sherrod Brown received an early birthday present from the state of Ohio last evening.

Brown, who will celebrate his 54th birthday on Thursday, was elected to his first term in the U.S. Senate, defeating incumbent two-time Republican Senator Mike DeWine.

His victory was one of six necessary pick-ups for the Democratic party in order to gain control of the Senate. Brown defeated DeWine 56 to 44 percent, as of 1:30 a.m.

And when Brown arrived at the Cleveland Public Auditorium at 10 p.m., confetti exploded out of a cannon placed on a balcony, raining onto roughly 600 Brown supporters below as they expressed jubilance over his victory.

“Today in Ohio, in the middle of America, the middle class won,” he said.

The Republicans had held out hope for a U.S. Senate win until late in the evening, mostly due to the extended election times in Cuyahoga County. But by 11 p.m., DeWine emerged with his family to concede.

As he thanked his family and supporters, some supporters wiped away tears.

“We fought hard,” DeWine said with his family holding back tears behind him. “We did everything we could do, but it was not to be.”

He congratulated Brown and pledged to help work with him in his transition to U.S. Senator.

“I believe Ohio’s best days are ahead of us,” DeWine said. “I intend to continue to fight for people of Ohio and help solve its problems.”

Brown has previously served seven terms in the House of Representatives and two terms as Ohio’s Secretary of State. He is from Lorain and is married to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz of the Plain Dealer. Brown graduated with a bachelor of arts from Yale in 1974, and obtained his master’s in education from Ohio State in 1981.

Brown, who appeared on stage with his wife and family, talked about how he was cautioned at the campaign’s onset to adhere to the middle of the road and avoid taking risks.

“But you know, it’s a risk worth taking to stand up for what you believe. And it’s a risk worth taking every day to stand up and fight for the middle class,” he said.

Brown said his initial steps as a senator will include passing a federal minimum wage increase, move forward with embryonic stem cell research and tell the government to negotiate drug prices on the behalf of those covered under Medicare.

“All of us together have helped to change our country. And because of progressive principles and mainstream progressive values, as Ohio goes in ’06 — so does the nation in ’08.”

Public affairs reporter Sean Ammerman contributed to this story.Contact public affairs reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].