Government

Strickland Enters 2016 Race Against Portman

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Former Gov. Ted Strickland today made official that he will challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Rob Portman for his seat in 2016.

In a statement posted on his campaign website and emailed to media outlets, Strickland said he was running for Senate because he is “determined to restore the American Dream for working people in this country.”

To do so, “we need to go back to the basics. We need to create living-wage jobs and invest in the kind of infrastructure projects that benefit our communities,” he said. “We need to make college more accessible and affordable so that our young people can get an education, get a job, and start saving to buy a home, support their families and retire with a sense of dignity and security. We need to make smart choices on fair trade that reward the worker instead of the wealthy.”

Before his election as governor in the 2006 wave election that benefited Democrats, Strickland represented Ohio’s 6th congressional district, which included Columbiana County and the southern portion of Mahoning County.

Portman, who previously served as a congressman and in the administration of President George W. Bush, was elected to the Senate as part of the 2010 Republican wave election that also saw Strickland ousted as governor by John Kasich.

Since losing his bid for a second term as governor, Strickland has served as a public delegate to the 68th General Assembly of the United Nations and as senior adviser to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. He recently headed the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Portman said he welcomed Strickland back to Ohio and looked forward to a “candid exchange of ideas during this critical time” for many Ohioans.

“The coming months will give Ohioans an opportunity to contrast my vision for a better future for Ohio workers with his past tenure as governor when hundreds of thousands of jobs disappeared from our state,” Portman said.

“Ohio families deserve a senator who will fight for their future and they can’t afford to go backward with Gov. Strickland,” he added.

The email referred to Portman’s campaign war chest of $5.8 million, as well as endorsements from more than 500 GOP officials from around Ohio and 5,000 “grassroots endorsements” the campaign has received.

Meanwhile, Portman’s reelection campaign unveiled a new website portraying Strickland as “the retread candidate” for the Senate seat.

After losing the governor’s office,  Strickland “moved to Washington and ran the lobbing arm of a far-left special interest group that supports higher taxes, fewer gun rights and policies that undermine coal jobs,” Portman for Senate campaign manager Corry Bliss said.

Republicans, who have been relentless in recent weeks in their attempt to paint their own picture of the former Democratic governor and congressman, wasted no time today responding to Strickland’s official entry into the race. The Ohio Republican Party unveiled its own website “to remind Ohioans about how terrible [Strickland] was for our state the first time, www.TedFailedOhio.com.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.