The Democratic Party’s national Senate campaign arm has canceled more than a week of television ads that were set to run next month in the key battleground of Ohio, where former governor Ted Strickland (D) has struggled to gain traction against incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R).
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had reserved advertising time on Ohio TV stations starting Sept. 13. Now, according to political ad trackers in both parties, the national Democrats won’t launch that campaign until Sept. 22.
The DSCC has not withdrawn its support from Strickland entirely — the committee is currently funding a Strickland campaign ad through its limited coordinated-spending accounts that seeks to tie Portman to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump — but the delay in unleashing ads from the committee’s more substantial independent expenditure arm comes amid rising doubts about Strickland’s viability against Portman.
Strickland campaign spokesman David Bergstein said the delay represented a shift in tactics, not a vote of no confidence from party honchos in Washington.
“The DSCC is spending the same amount of money they were slated to spend, it’s just being used to help fund our existing ad instead of through an independent expenditure,” Bergstein said.
If it's truly a move to backload ad spending to hit Portman in late September and October, that's one thing. But it also gives the DSCC time to reduce that spending, too. That's where I think we're headed, as Strickland isn't doing himself any favors lately, as Portman has been hitting him hard on Strickland's time as governor preceding John Kasich.
We'll see if Strickland can get his act together or not. Doing things like saying how awesome Gov. Kasich is for not backing Trump for example isn't going to get too many additional votes for him, but that's Strickland's way. He's a nice guy, and totally unsuited to the Year of Trump. If Democrats do get control of the Senate back, I just don't see that path going through Ted Strickland and Ohio right now.