Jon Husted’s initial ad buy is big.  He’s spending over $50k in committed ad time on Channels 4 and 10 in Columbus alone between now and the primary.  And when I mean now, I mean right now.

Where in most people, myself included, thought that the Secretary of State race was a likely Republican takeover given Husted’s impressive campaign warchest (over $2 million) and recruitment problems on the Democratic side, Sandy O’Brien is haunting Husted with the ghost of Janette Bradley’s doomed primary in 2006.  Unlike Bradley, Husted does seem to be taking O’Brien threat more seriously.

This, of course, has the Ohio Democratic Party practically crowing:

“Jon Husted is running ads and running scared,” said Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Seth Bringman. “The Republican poster boy is now in the fight of his political life against the Tea Party favorite. No one expected him to spend so much money so soon, but the deep division that has developed in the Republican Party has forced him to open his coffers.”

Widespread speculation in political circles is that Husted’s internal polling shows him losing to Sandra O’Brien.

Husted’s long history of ethical woes, as outlined last week by the Dayton Daily News, is sure to be a major liability in his campaign.

Although I haven’t seen the rest of the ad buys, I’m told that Husted is blanketing the rest of the State with a similarly large initial ad buy, which he could actually INCREASE in the remaining weeks.

Husted is running scared, the Ohio Republican Party would not being mailing out Husted=Tea Party unless they thought he was in trouble (granted, it’s more likely it was a Husted-campaign piece being mailed using the Ohio GOP’s postage rate, but that still doesn’t change that Husted feels threatened by O’Brien’s appeal to the Tea Party.)

The question is though, given the number of early votes already casts, particularly by party switchers, is Husted’s too late?

Husted may still emerge with the party’s nomination, but he’s clearly going to do so while losing his once huge financial advantage.

With the next statewide campaign finance reports due in a few weeks, consider helping out Maryellen O’Shaughnessy.

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