Republican political operatives in Ohio are putting the rapid in rapid response. On the day former Democratic Governor Ted Strickland announced his campaign against incumbent Republican Senator Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican Party launched a political ad slamming Strickland’s past stewardship of the state economy.
Rob Portman vs. Ted Strickland Already a Knife Fight
Perhaps Republicans are always worried in the perennial swing state of Ohio. Perhaps they are spooked by Portman’s low approval ratings. But in this spot the Republican political consultants come out swinging, calling Strickland “an Ohio Job Killer,” and urging viewers to visit TedFailedOhio.com. Even before his announcement, the Ohio GOP was running another hit in anticipation, mocking his record and his subsequent political work. (The Portman campaign doesn’t have its own ads yet, but a website RetreadTed.com covers the same ground.)
Both spots aim to remind voters that Strickland was voted out of office after one term as the Ohio economy hit the skids. In the latest political ad, the screen blares, “Failed one-term Governor” and “350,000 jobs lost,” as depressing news coverage from his 2007-2011 tenure is shown. The earlier ad has a sarcastic tone, showing a cartoon Strickland being booted out of office, then strolling to a cushy job on Washington’s lobbyist corridor, K Street.
Ted Strickland Lets Republicans Throw The First Punch
Strickland’s likely defense will be that he was governor during the global crash on President Bush’s watch, and his “lobbying” was for the non-profit think tank Center for American Progress, not a corporate special interest. But his campaign team did not launch its campaign with a video of its own to help establish his own narrative, ceding some initial turf to Republicans. Not every campaign wants to spend money on ads right away, but Strickland is mounting a comeback bid, meaning he has a lot of work to do to explain his past record to voters who previously rejected him.
Strickland did not seem rattled by the immediate attacks, telling the Columbus Dispatch that the Republicans ads were effectively a “compliment” recognizing that “my message of standing up for working people, standing up for the middle class versus standing up for the rich and powerful is a message that will resonate with the people of Ohio.”
But as this swing state Senate race has quickly become a knife fight, Strickland’s lack of an initial airwaves operation may be a misstep he’ll want to correct quickly.