Dear Strickland campaign,

I am sorry for thinking it was nuts to let Kasich go on the air for all of August with nothing in response.  I was wrong.  Terribly, terribly wrong to doubt you.  There is not enough crows this season to make the size of pie I need to eat for being this wrong.  It was a bold plan that required letting Kasich get a lead before you overwhelmed him.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Nieslen has an answer to Matt Naugle’s question how both Portman and Strickland could be surging–it’s the only thing they have in common (besides being white men)—their campaign is dominating the airwaves.

In Ohio’s three largest television markets between Sept. 20-26, "Strickland continues to dominate Kasich in the number of ads run in all markets and by a 2-to-1 margin overall," even though Kasich increased his ad run over last week by 54 percent, Nielsen reported. For the week in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Strickland ran 933 TV ads compared to Kasich’s 458.

In the Columbus market, Strickland ran 295 ads compared to Kasich’s 100; in Cleveland, Strickland ran 389 ads to Kasich’s 143, and in Cincinnati, Strickland ran 249 ads to Kasich’s 215.

So maybe that 3:1 ad ratio has something to do with the Ohio Poll showing central Ohio suddenly tightening since May.  Strickland’s even running more ads in what should be GOP’s base… Cincinnati.

As for Fisher?  He’s running as much ads statewide as Kasich is running in Cleveland.

Portman also swamped Fisher in TV advertising for the week, totalling 772 ads in the three markets compared to Fisher’s 149.

Meanwhile, Portman is running almost twice as many ads statewide as Strickland is.  Ouch.  The breakdown of the ad buy gets weird:

In Cleveland, Portman had 317 TV spots compared to Fisher’s 98; in Columbus, Portman had 230 TV ads to Fisher’s 51, and in Cincinnati, Portman shut out Fisher, 225 ads to zero.

Weeks after having a high profile event with President Clinton in Cincinnati, the Fisher campaign is running no ads there.  None. 3:1 in Cleveland.  Over 4:1 in Columbus.  And Portman is hitting Fisher with multiple variations of the same attacks while Fisher has just one ad. 

As “Kasich poll panic” set in on Tuesday, Keeling wrote:

Rob Portman is currently blowing away Lee Fisher. In the same Fox News poll as was released today showing the Governor’s race tightening, it also showed Portman up 13.

In their 9/11 poll, Fox News showed Portman up 7. And what have we seen since then? Two new ads from Portman that have driven home Fisher’s record as Lt. Governor and "Jobs Czar". And now he’s up 13. Fisher hasn’t had any substantive TV buys during that entire stretch, so what changed? The advertising angle. Talking about their opponent’s record.

It worked so well for Portman that Larry Sabato was up on TV this morning telling a national audience that Democrats in DC have given up on Lee. Time to try it with Ted.

Except this is what Keeling doesn’t appreciate what was so incredibly strategic about the Strickland’s campaign decision to let Kasich punch out in August.  Kasich can’t do the same thing as Portman.  The RGA has already spent millions attacking Strickland as Portman is doing with Fisher.  They haven’t “gotten the jobs done.”

So the only thing Kasich could do like Portman is out air Strickland.  But he can’t after spending all that money in August, Kasich started this month with an estimated three to four million dollar cash-on-hand disadvantage to Strickland.  Even if Kasich outraises Strickland this month, it’s not expected to be so much that Kasich is going to air as much, let alone, more than Strickland.  In short, there’s nothing left in the tank to compete with Strickland.

Portman isn’t winning for any other reason that he’s on the air attacking Fisher 6:1 to Fisher attacking him.  Strickland is 2:1.  Kasich might be able to close that gap, but not flip it.  The SEIU and the DGA serves as a counterweight to the RGA.  Nope, there’s nobody who can stop this now.

Ted Strickland’s campaign just ran a rope-a-dope strategy on Kasich.   Its like watching a chess game and suddenly realizing the other player was lulling his opponent to walk right into a checkmate.  Poor John Keeling.  He thinks Foreman still has a chance after throwing all his best punches all summer.