The Youngstown Vindicator reported today that former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland is ready to take on Ohio’s junior U.S. Senator Rob Portman in 2016. Strickland will join fellow Democrat P.G. Sittenfeld in the field of potential challengers for Portman’s senate seat. Sittenfeld, a Cincinnati City Councilman and Assistant Director of the Community Learning Center Institute, launched his campaign to compete against Sen. Portman eight days ago.
Elected by a nearly 2-1 margin in 2006, following years of domination by Republicans that produced one scandal after another, Gov. Strickland narrowly lost his reelection run to John Kasich in 2010 by about 77,000 votes statewide. Tim Ryan, Congressman for Ohio’s 13th District, was also mentioned as another Democratic office holder eyeing the race is, according to NPR News.
Gov. Strickland opted out of a grudge match against Gov.Kasich in 2014, choosing instead to endorse Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who suffered an embarrassing defeat following a campaign replete with misteps and poor fundraising. Sittenfeld would be new blood and a fresh face, but Strickland is battle hardened, and showed he can give as good as he can take when he helped win Ohio a second consecutive time for President Barack Obama in 2012.
Sen. Portman has self-selected himself out of the GOP race for president, saying he wants to win a second term. He was among Mitt Romney’s shortlist of Vice President in 2012, and is still considered a good ticket mate to whomever does become the GOP standard bearer in 2016.
Right in cue, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges issued a statement slamming Mr. Strickland, who expects to make his final decision about a Senate run next month. “After Ted Strickland presided over record job loss and massive budget deficits as governor Ohio voters sent him home,” Borges said.
Far from presiding over “massive budget deficits,” Governor Strickland’s final budget actually resulted in a nearly one Billion dollar surplus for Ohio. That’s because Strickland, in the midst of the Great Recession, was the only governor in the past 40 years to actually reduce state spending. Kasich, on the other hand, has increased state spending by billions and billions of dollars.