Friday, October 3, 2003

Fingerhut redefines 'underdog'

By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - At least Democrat Eric Fingerhut can say he's gaining on Sen. George Voinovich.

An Ohio Poll out Thursday shows Fingerhut trailing Voinovich, the Republican incumbent, 63 percent to 30 percent - a margin reminiscent of Sen. Mike DeWine's crushing of Democrat Ted Celeste in 2000.

But Fingerhut's 33-point deficit is better than the 43-point deficit he showed in a February Ohio Poll.

"That's progress," Fingerhut said. "I feel incredibly good about today's numbers."

The poll matters because Republicans control the Senate 51 to 49, and every Senate race next year has the potential to switch control back to the Democrats.

At Voinovich headquarters, campaign director Matt Carle said regardless, he's preparing for a difficult race.

In its latest campaign filings, the campaign is expected to show a robust $4 million war chest, Voinovich spokeswoman Marcie Ridgway said.

Fingerhut said he wasn't sure what his campaign fund would show but said it would be silly to write off the race. He said he's still introducing himself to the state, will speak today in Cincinnati and be at a National Underground Railroad Freedom Center benefit Saturday.

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