Ted Strickland

 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. 

It must be somewhat frustrating to be P.G. Sittenfeld these days.

The 30-year-old second-term Cincinnati council member is a candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Rob Portman.

When he jumped in, he was hailed by many as a fresh new face, representing a new generation of young Ohio Democrats determined to bring the party back from the dead.

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.

There was an air of breathless urgency in the e-mail from the Ted Strickland for Senate campaign that crashed into thousands of Ohio Democrats’ inboxes Thursday afternoon.

“If there was ever a time to show your support for Ted, that time is NOW.,’’ said the e-mail, signed by Strickland campaign manager Rebecca Pearcy.

“Polls have Ted in a dead heat with Rob Portman…Pundits are calling Ted’s campaign one of the most important races in the country to winning back the Senate majority…EVERYONE is watching to see just how much grassroots support we have.

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.

The late Jim Rhodes, who managed to be elected Ohio governor four times and was about the most pragmatic politician we’ve known in over 40 years of covering politics, had a saying about Ohio voters.

Actually, he had many sayings. But this one rang true back in Rhodes’ day and till holds some power today.

Ohio voters, Rhodes would say, care the most about three things – “jobs, jobs, and jobs.”

To many Ohio workers, the debate over “free trade” and “fair trade” is very real.