Rob Portman

Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

CLEVELAND – Ohio's junior senator, Rob Portman, has been the object of barbs from his re-election opponent, former Gov. Ted Strickland, and Ohio Democrats for wanting to have it both ways when it comes to Donald Trump.

The battle between incumbent Republican Rob Portman and Democratic challenger Ted Strickland for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat is a flat-footed tie, according to a poll released Wednesday morning.

The Quinnipiac University poll had both candidates with 42 percent support. The pollsters say the race has been too close to call for months. The full poll is available here.

Donald Trump and (presumably) Hillary Clinton will be the featured bout in this November's election in the key swing state of Ohio, the bellwether of presidential elections for as long as anyone can remember.

But the undercard fight in Ohio is a pretty good one too.

It's entirely possible – even likely – that many people, including the subset of humanity known as "political pundits," can take polling done six months before a presidential election way too seriously.

Not to denigrate the pollsters. The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, the academic polling operation that released two "key state" polls on the presidential election and Senate elections in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania last week is well-respected and professional.

Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee for president. Anyone with an elementary grasp of mathematics has known that for some time now.

The once-gargantuan field of GOP presidential candidates dwindled in recent weeks to three – Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich. And, after Trump's thumping of Cruz Tuesday in Indiana, it was finally down to one, with first Cruz and then Kasich falling on their swords and crying "uncle."

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the impact President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court could have on Ohio's U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Rob Portman and Democratic challenger Ted Strickland. 

It was not as if Ohio's junior U.S. senator, Rob Portman of Terrace Park, didn't have enough headaches to deal with in his bid for a second six-year term when the conundrum of President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland came along.

The Democratic Party leadership in Washington already saw Portman as vulnerable; and an important key to the Democrats' ambitions to re-take control of the U.S. Senate in November. It is not, by any means, a pie-in-the-sky ambition.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about a variety of topics - what it would take for John Kasich to pull off the GOP presidential nomination, the high-stakes contest between Rob Portman and Ted Strickland, and newcomer Warren Davidson's win last week in the 8th Ohio Congressional District. 

The idea of Donald Trump as his party’s presidential nominee is clearly getting under the skin of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

He’s probably not tossing and turning through the night, but he is clearly worried about it. And what he is worried about is the impact a Trump candidacy would have on his ability to keep his Republican majority in the U.S. Senate in a year when so many GOP senators are in tough races.

Former Democratic governor Ted Strickland and Republican incumbent Rob Portman are in a virtual tie for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

The same poll shows that Ohio Gov. John Kasich, if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee, would easily defeat either former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Ohio, a crucial swing state in this fall’s presidential election.

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