Ohio Dems Rally in Marietta

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While Bob Taft has been considered a popular governor, it's been forgotten he won the office four years ago by a small margin.

State Democrats this past week have been uniting to oust not only Taft, but Republican members of other office and the state legislature.

"We're making our case that 12 years of one-party rule is enough," says Tim Hagan, Taft's Democratic opponent in this fall's election. "The Republicans have made a mess of the state, and we hope the public clearly understands that."

The 12-city bus tour includes the singing of what party leaders call a "Declaration of Independence" from Republican control.

Ohio Democrats have their work cut out for them in terms of funding and name recognition. They also say they have on their side issues Republicans haven't dealt with.

"They're doing sweetheart deals with contributors of millions of dollars to their campaigns,” says Democratic Auditor Candidate Helen Knipe Smith. "That's plain wrong."

While current officeholders are barred from running for more than two consecutive terms, some are running for other state offices. One example is Auditor Jim Petro, who is a candidate for Attorney General this fall. His Democratic opponent is State Senator Leigh Harington.

"My opponent says he only wants the job for four years," Harington says, "Then he wants to run for governor. I want to be Attorney General; I want to do what's right for the people of Ohio."

While there's been Republican domination at the statehouse, Democrats recently have been successful in capturing mayors' offices in Ohio's major cities.

In addition to Marietta, the candidates made stops Wednesday in Athens and Portsmouth.