Not only is he quitting the Senate race, he says he's getting out of politics altogether:
Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside so that Representative Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, could take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent.I haven't given this a lot of thought, so I'm open to being persuaded otherwise, but at first blush this move just seems to confirm that Hackett was in no way ready to be a candidate for Senate - to react to a fairly standard phenomenon in politics (party leaders stepping in like this, which is admittedly uncool but also to be expected) by saying, essentially, that he's taking his ball and going home seems, frankly, immature.
..."This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me," said Mr. Hackett, whose announcement comes two days before the state's filing deadline for candidates. He said he was outraged to learn that party leaders were calling his donors and asking them to stop giving and said he would not enter the Second District Congressional race.
"For me, this is a second betrayal," Mr. Hackett said. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me."
To his credit, Kos seems to have a sensible take on this:
...the party wasn't afraid of Hackett, they were afraid of an untested candidate in a high-profile Senate race. He'd have all the support in the world had he decided to run for OH-02. And he'd be able to build on that support for a Senate race in 2010.The party leaders obviously saw Hackett as a resource, a 'prospect' candidate who had promise and could be effective in a certain role, but wasn't ready for the first string - hardly a 'betrayal'. Again, it would be nice if they left that decision to primary voters, but it's hard to imagine that their interference was motivated by being "afraid" to support Hackett. What would be so scary about Hackett to party leaders? He's a fairly moderate, mainstream, charismatic candidate who (for reasons that escape me, but whatever) still seems to get the 'base' excited. I mean, they probably were afraid for him to run as their Senate candidate, but that's just because he's still too green, and has a habit of saying stupid things in public.
...Hackett is complaining about betrayal. Yet Rahm was trying to get him to become one of his candidates. In other words, Rahm was recruiting him. That's not a bad thing. That's a flattering thing.
To be clear -- Hackett didn't stand a chance. He had a tenth of Brown's money, and that was before party people allegedly tried to stop Hackett's donors from giving.
...To be further clear, Brown announced his candidacy before Hackett did. Yes, Reid and Schumer were urging Hackett to run, but he wouldn't commit to running. Labor Day, the traditional announcement day for most candidates, came and went with Hackett refusing to say what his plans were. So after waiting and waiting and waiting, Brown essentially said "fuck it" and got in. It was only after news of Brown's impending announcement were leaked that Hackett decided to commit to the race.
Bottom line? Hackett didn't stand a chance, he wasn't backstabbed by his party since Brown's candidacy was announced before his was (if he'd only committed sooner, Brown might've stayed out), and the party wasn't out to screw him, they were out to get him to run in the House.
Again, I'm saying all this without reflecting too terribly much on, so maybe I'm looking at things the wrong way. But right now I'd have to imagine that there's not going to be a lot of regret over Hackett's departure.