P.G. Sittenfeld

Howard Wilkinson

It hasn’t happened often since former Ohio governor Ted Strickland and Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld began running against each other for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination early this year.

Monday night, the two were in the same room at the same place at the same time – a Hamilton County Democratic Party fall fundraiser at Longworth Hall.

And they might as well have been 200 miles apart.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the struggle of Cincinnati's P.G. Sittenfeld to catch up with Ted Strickland in Ohio's U.S. Senate primary. 

Sometimes, when we think about P.G. Sittenfeld and his long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator from Ohio, an old Frank Sinatra novelty song becomes our ear-worm of the day:

 WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about Ohio's U.S. Senate race; and how the outlook seems to have improved for incumbent Republican Rob Portman's re-election chances. 

A potential U.S. Senate race in Ohio between Democratic challenger Ted Strickland and Republican incumbent Rob Portman is nearly a dead heat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday morning.

After months of Strickland, the former governor, holding a substantial lead over Portman, the race now has 44 percent supporting the Democrat and 41 percent supporting Portman.

Ohio will obviously be a key state in next year's presidential election, but it will also have a key role to play in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate. WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked Monday morning with news director Maryanne Zeleznik about that already contentious race. 

There are many odd things about this battle within the ranks of Ohio Democrats over the U.S. Senate seat, with 30-year-old P.G. Sittenfeld, the council member from Cincinnati, taking on the 74-year-old former governor and congressman, Ted Strickland.

First, there is the fact that Sittenfeld, despite having the entire Ohio Democratic Party structure lined up against him, and the national party too, shows absolutely no sign of dropping out of the race against Strickland who has the lead not only in name recognition but in money raised.

But that’s not the strangest thing.

If the election were held today, former Ohio governor Ted Strickland would defeat Republican incumbent Rob Portman in in the U.S. Senate race, according to an independent poll released Monday morning.

The Quinnipiac University poll – which looked at Senate races in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania – had the former Democratic governor with 46 percent support to 40 percent for Portman, the Terrace Park Republican who is running for a second term.

The leadership of the Democratic Party, both here in Ohio and in Washington, really doesn’t know what to make of Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld.

Is this guy just dense?, they must be thinking. Doesn’t he get the picture?

Sarah Ramsey

  Saying he wants to give Ohio Democrats "a competition, not a coronation," Cincinnati city council member P.G. Sittenfeld said in Columbus this morning he will stay in the U.S. Senate race, despite pressure within his own party to withdraw. 

WVXU political reporter Howard Wilkinson joins us for an update.