Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld has launched his campaign for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat next year.
Sittenfeld will be seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Senator Rob Portman.
Sittenfeld said Portman is out of touch with Ohio values and priorities.
“After spending more than a quarter century in Washington, so many folks look at career insiders in Congress and see a group that has stacked the deck against the middle class,” Sittenfeld said. “I want to do the opposite of that, I want to create opportunities for middle class families and for working people.”
Sittenfeld is announcing his plans Thursday during a series of interviews with Ohio media outlets.
He began raising money for the senate race earlier this month, but Sittenfeld refused to say how much money has been raised so far. He will also have to increase his name recognition in other parts of the state outside southwest Ohio.
“I think the reason we’re going to capture folks attention is because we’re going to be talking about how do we create and build an economy that works for everybody, how to we expand educational opportunity, how do we look out for seniors who’ve worked hard all their life,” Sittenfeld said.
There are other Ohio Democrats who are also considering running. They include former Ohio Governor and Congressman Ted Strickland, current U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, former Congresswoman Betty Sutton and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.
Some Ohio Democratic Party leaders say that Sittenfeld needed to be the first to announce his candidacy because he is less well known than some of the other potential candidates.
Senator Portman has announced plans to seek a second term, and has nearly $6 million dollars in his campaign war chest.
The National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC) wasted no time in trying to trash Sittenfeld's candidacy.
"Clearly, national Democrats have hit rock bottom if they are hitching their electoral hopes in Ohio to an overly ambitious 30-year-old city councilman whose Senate candidacy is nothing more than a disingenuous attempt to get closer to his 'hero' President Obama and his reckless policies,'' NRSC spokesperson Andrea Bozek said in a news release this morning.
Sittenfeld has served on Cincinnati Council since being elected in 2011. He said he intends to keep focusing on city issues while campaigning for the Senate nomination.
"I'm absolutely going to continue to be a dutiful, committed advocate on city issues,'' Sittenfeld said. "I'm going to work hard to win this race, but I'm going to continue to be the council member I have always been."
Sittenfeld seemingly came out of nowhere in 20111 to win a council seat, finishing second. In 2013, he ran for re-election, spending about $340,000 and finishing first.
Now that council has four-year terms, Sittenfeld's present council term goes through 2017, meaning that if he is unsuccessful in his Senate race, he will have a job to go back at Cincinnati City Hall.