Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland’s bid for the U.S. Senate got a huge boost Tuesday morning when the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) endorsed his candidacy.
The DSCC is capable of raising millions of dollars for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates.
Its endorsement of Strickland is a blow to the campaign of Cincinnati city council member P.G. Sittenfeld, who is the only other announced Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Rob Portman.
In a written statement, DSCC executive director Tom Lopach said “we look forward to supporting Ted Strickland’s campaign and are confident he will be a great senator.”
“Ted Strickland has a long record of fighting for working folks in Ohio and there is no question that he is the strongest candidate to defeat Rob Portman,’’ Lopach said.
The DSCC endorsement comes a day after the state’s ranking Democratic elected official, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, endorsed Strickland, while at the same time praising Sittenfeld as a Democrat with a "bright future" in the party.
Despite the DSCC endorsement of Strickland, Sittenfeld's campaign put out a statement which gives no indication the Cincinnati councilman is considering getting out of the race.
The campaign, Sittenfeld said in the written statement, is "about and for hard-working, everyday Ohioans whose concerns have gone unrepresented in Washington for far too long because insiders like Rob Portman have put the interest of his friends ahead of our state."
"It's about people like Ron Jackson who worked with me to install crosswalks so seniors like him could safely catch the bus; it's about Nikki Steele who made her community safer by helping me repair street lights in low-income neighborhoods in Cincinnati,'' Sittenfeld said. "The endorsements that matter most are the ones from Ohioans like Ron and Nikki - and I will continue working hard to earn them."
Sittenfeld and Strickland are to face each other in a Democratic primary a year from now. The winner would face Portman in the Nov. 2016 election.
Ohio's Senate race is likely to be a key match-up in the 2016 battle for control of the U.S. Senate.
The National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC), the DSCC's opposite number, put out a statement critical of Strickland and the endorsement.
"Only a bunch of Beltway Democrats would actually believe the future of their party rests with a retread governor who saw his state lost over 350,000 jobs during his tenure,'' NRSC spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a written statement.