Enter the donkeys. Exit the elephants.
A decade of political upheaval that began in controversy ended with a major partisan shift as Republicans -- once in charge of the nation, the state and Erie County -- wound up handing power over to Democrats.
1. The decade began with the election of George W. Bush over Al Gore.
Gore, despite being part of a Democratic administration that presided over years of prosperity and relative peace, lost anyway.
The victory left Republicans in control of the White House, both the House and the Senate in Congress, and the Supreme Court.
GOP ascendancy in the High Court was underscored when the justices voted 5-4 for a decision that essentially halted the Florida election recount, handing the election to Bush.
2. Bush won a second term in 2004.
Bush's win was aided when a key state, Ohio, entered the victory column.
Although the election result in Ohio was not as disputed as the 2000 election in Florida, the outcome generated criticism and conspiracy theories.
The long lines of people waiting to vote helped generate a change in Ohio's elections, with absentee balloting opened up to all Ohio voters during the second half of the decade.
3.) The political winds shifted in 2006, when Democrats took control of the U.S. House (installing Nancy Pelosi as speaker, the first woman to serve in the post) and gained control of the Senate, which after the election had 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans and two independents.
Democrats defeated six incumbent Republican senators in 2006, and nowhere was the shift of fortunes more dramatic than in the swing state of Ohio, where Sherrod Brown gave up a safe U.S. House seat representing Lorain to run for the Senate. Brown won, defeating incumbent Republican Mike DeWine, who held office in various government posts for 30 years.
4.) The national shift was confirmed in the 2008 election, which not only saw the election of Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain in the race for president, but which gave the new president a Congress he could work with. Democrats cemented solid majorities in the House and Senate.
The national trend also played out on a much smaller stage in Erie County.
1.) In 2000, the county commissioners were Republican Harold Butcher, Republican Nancy McKeen and Democrat Tom Ferrell Jr.
"That was very unusual here. It is such a Democratic county," said clerk of the commissioners Carolyn Hauenstein.
2.) Republican fortunes were aided when they persuaded McKeen to run. McKeen never lost an election, defeating Democrats Natalie Mosher in 1996, Deborah Alex-Saunders in 2000 and Bill Kimberlin in 2004.
3.) Ferrell, meanwhile, proved equally efficient over the years in holding his seat for the Democrats. He won in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 (defeating Leroy Silvani), 2004 (beating Joe Hayberger) and 2008 (Michael Printy was the Republican nominee).
4.) Butcher chose not to seek re-election in 2002 after a scandal stemming from a drunk driving arrest. Republican Sparky Weilnau of Milan held the seat for the GOP, defeating Brent Gardner in the primary and Leroy Sizemore Jr. in the general election.
5.) But in 2006, as Brown defeated a Republican incumbent in the Senate, Democratic businessman Bill Monaghan mounted a campaign against Weilnau. Monaghan won, giving Democrats a 2-1 edge on the county commission, with McKeen serving as the lone Republican.
6.) In 2008, as Ferrell won his match-up with Printy, Democrat Pat Shenigo edged Republican Hayberger in a narrow race, giving Democrats 3-0 control of the county commission.
The political changes in Columbus also proved dramatic.
1.) In 2000, Ohio had a Republican governor, Bob Taft, and held many state offices, including both U.S. Senate seats and control of the Ohio General Assembly.
2.) Democrat Ted Strickland won the 2006 election for governor, defeating Republican Ken Blackwell. And in 2008, Democrats captured control of the Ohio House, although Republicans retain a majority in the Ohio Senate.