A series of recent polls show Betty Sutton running strong against Jim Renacci despite the fact that the congressional seat they are fighting for (Ohio 16) was recently gerrymandered (with the help of John Boehner) to lean Republican and include some of the GOP’s biggest financial backers.

Feeling the heat, it seems Republican Renacci has decided to straight up steal parts of Sutton’s message in a sad attempt to turn the tide.

In late January Betty Sutton was interviewed responding to the President’s State of the Union address. She gave what one blogger called the “Best Sound Bite of the Night”:

“Nobody wants a government on their back, but they do want a government on their side.”

Congresswoman Sutton repeated the phrase many times afterward, including a visit to the N. Olmstead Democratic Club in early February: “Ms. Sutton said that voters are not asking for anything special from their elected officials. They just do not want government on their back, but they do want government on their side.”

By Mid-February, Renacci decided he’d just steal it.

In an Op-ed, published in the Wooster Daily Record, Congressman Renacci wrote, “I believe we need a smaller, more efficient, more effective federal government — a government that is on your side, not on your back.”

A week later Renacci told supporters at an event with Newt Gingrich’s daughter, ” We need a smaller more efficient federal government, a government that..is on your side, not on your back.”

Campaign are about messaging. But they are also about ideas. In this case, Renacci has failed on both.