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Sherrod’s ‘Lost Art’ Style, ‘Inexhaustible’ Energy Could Make Him ‘One Of The Most Successful Democrats In Ohio Political History’

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Sherrod’s ‘Lost Art’ Style, ‘Inexhaustible’ Energy Could Make Him ‘One Of The Most Successful Democrats In Ohio Political History’

In a new profile from the Columbus Dispatch, Republicans and Democrats alike praise Sherrod’s “lost art” of writing notes and making personal phone calls, setting him apart from others for the way he views and is successful in his job.

Anecdotes from his allies and political foes provide an inside look at Sherrod’s work style and long-held philosophy, “it’s who you fight for and what you fight against,” which has made him effective in the Senate, and could make him one of “the most successful Democrats in Ohio political history.”


Columbus Dispatch: Constant calls, handwritten notes keep Democrat Sherrod Brown in touch with Ohioans

Jack Torry – September 23, 2018

Key Points:

  • Sherrod Brown likes to make phone calls and scribble notes. To longtime friends and one-time foes. While being driven from one event to another. Just about anywhere a phone works.
  • The calls and the handwritten notes, which one Republican calls “a lost art” among politicians, are among the many reasons that Sherrod Brown is leading Republican opponent Rep. Jim Renacci in polls in his effort to remain in the U.S. Senate. And a victory would make Brown one of the most successful Democrats in Ohio political history.
  • With his seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy, Brown, 65, of Cleveland, calls people from both political parties to pepper them with questions about their pet causes. In those calls, he almost never asks for political donations.
  • “He’s the best at calling people that I’ve ever seen in any office,” said former Republican Congressman Dave Hobson of Springfield. “I don’t think he has changed philosophically. I think he’s changed how he views his job, and it may (translate into) how he keeps his job.”
  • In an interview, Brown said the “calls are really about people who give me ideas. It’s really a way of gathering information.
  • “I don’t always do the big town halls where people shout at each other over issues they don’t agree on,” Brown said. “I sit around a table with 15 people, and I listen to them. Most of the bills I have introduced have come from these round-tables.”
  • Barry Bennett, a Republican consultant and former senior adviser to President Donald Trump, said that Brown has “always been a good politician. As Ohio has gotten more red, he’s started to treat many more Republicans as friends.
  • Brown showed that side after he successfully challenged Republican Sen. Mike DeWine in a 2006 election. Barbara Mills, who was DeWine’s state director, met Brown at an event.
  • “I really wanted to dislike Sherrod Brown after he beat my friend,” she said.
  • But shortly after that encounter, Brown sent her a handwritten note saying he was “so glad we had talked.”
  • “It meant a lot to me,” she said. “It made me see the senator as a human being, not as an elected official who put me on the unemployment line. He does something which Mike DeWine does — which is a lost art — in that he handwrites notes.”
  • Then there was the time that Brown telephoned Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and urged her to “go have lunch every quarter” with former Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican who is now a professor at the University of Dayton.
  • “Absolutely,” Whaley replied, but added: “Sherrod, this is a funny request. Bob Taft is the only person who has ever beaten you,” a reference to Taft’s victory over Brown in the 1990 Ohio secretary of state’s race.
  • “Yeah,” Brown told her. “But he’s really a great guy and can do a lot for Dayton.”
  • Sometimes, Brown does more than call. During a lockout of steelworkers in Mansfield in 1999, Brown made a habit of dropping by unannounced at the union hall, prompting Ron Davis, the head of the local steelworkers’ union, to say: “It was always good for people to see somebody was interested in their situation.”
  • When Brown was elected to the Senate in 2006 after more than a decade in the House, some analysts doubted that he could thrive in the clubby upper chamber. Yet Brown has forged harmonious relationships with Republicans, joining with Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio to co-sponsor 105 bills since last year.
  • Brown said his attitude about working with ideological opponents began to change during his first term in the Senate after a contentious floor debate with a Republican colleague.
  • As he made the 2-mile walk back to his apartment, he was “feeling kind of bad” because the debate had seemed too personal. He telephoned his wife, Connie Schultz, to talk with her. He finally concluded, “It’s who you fight for and what you fight against,” as opposed to making disagreements personal.

Read the full story here.