The numbers are pretty entertaining: incumbent Rob Portman (R) raised almost eight million this year, with eleven million in the bank, while former governor Ted Strickland (D) raised about two and a half, with about a million and a half in the bank (Democratic primary challenger P.G. Sittenfeld has raised about half of that, and also has about half of that COH). As the Washington Free Beacon notes here, Strickland’s far behind both the short-term and long-term fundraising benchmarks that he was supposed to hit; I should also note that those numbers assume an uncontested primary. Strickland may not actually get one of those.
As for the polling… still sparse, but not good news for either candidate. Portman is in his mid-forties, which is not a good sign for an incumbent (admittedly, that’s just RVs at this point); but Quinnipac is watching Strickland’s numbers go down while Portman’s go up. More to the point, if Strickland doesn’t have the money for ads next year, he’s in real trouble: Ohio is an expensive media market in a Presidential year. If everybody else is able to outbid you, well, there’s always the public access stations.
All of this is relevant, by the way, because Ohio is one of those states where the Democrats are waving their hands and saying “So once we win that seat, we’re in a good position to pick up X of Y and then get the majority” without actually stopping to admit that, well, it’s not immediately obvious that they’re guaranteed to pick up that seat. The truth is, Ted Strickland is not so much a good choice for the Democrats as it is that they have no other really good choices. There are only four Ohio Democrats in the House right now, and all four of them have very nice committee assignments (two on Appropriations). There’s also a lack of serving statewide Democrats. It’s the standard Democratic problem in the states, in other words: Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid threw their party’s state organizations into the bonfire in order to get Obamacare passed, and now the remnants have to scrape together a slate out of what survived – or mostly survived – the flames.
None of this means that we get to be complacent. But never forget that things are not going well for the Democratic party right now. There are a lot of people – not all of whom are formally Democrats – that kind of want you to think otherwise, because it’s politically useful for them. Just keep that in mind, all right?
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: And, just for the record: in 2008 we heard a lot about how there was no differences between the two parties. Then the Democrats took over, and showed us precisely what those differences looked like. Typically by shoving those differences right down the collective throat of the American electorate. I bring this up solely as a public service…