Seventy-three year old former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s (D) announcement that he will challenge first-term Sen. Rob Portman (R) was expected yet still surprising.
Clearly the defeated former governor is attempting to take advantage of what he believes will be a 2016 Democratic presidential victory not only nationally, but in Ohio as well. Such a finish could reasonably sweep in a Democratic Senate candidate on presidential coattails, of this we know.
While the former governor has six terms in Congress to his credit and another four years as the state’s chief executive, he is no stranger to losing. In fact, he lost four House races in addition to his re-election as governor. Strickland won for the first time on his fourth try for Congress, some 16 years after he originally ran.
Defeating Sen. Portman will be no small feat. As we know, aside from serving one term in the Senate, Portman won seven U.S. House races, exceeding 72 percent of the vote each time. In his 2010 US Senate victory, he racked up over 57 percent against the sitting Democratic lieutenant governor in a state that traditionally features close elections … and won all but six counties.
Having Strickland in the race arguably gives the Democrats their best possible candidate. He virtually has universal name identification with an ability to raise national money, in addition to attracting several million dollars from the state.
This race must now be considered a top-tier challenge campaign, but Sen. Portman begins as a clear favorite to win re-election.
National Poll Reflects Gov. Walker’s Continued Strength
A new Public Policy Polling survey (Feb. 20-22) posts Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) to his largest lead of the early presidential campaign season. But the study does not appear particularly reliable.
Sampling only 316 likely Republican primary voters nationally brings the results into question because the respondent universe is so small. Normally, pollsters select at least 850 people in order to forecast a more accurate picture of the national electorate, even in a primary situation. Still, the numbers do provide some interesting conclusions that are consistent with other polls.
While Gov. Walker’s 25 percent is the highest he has recorded anywhere, the fact that he leads a Republican primary survey is now commonly found not only nationally, but also in several politically crucial states.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush not performing particularly well is also becoming a recurring pattern. Here, Bush places third with only 17 percent, one point behind upstart Maryland retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson who is doing surprisingly well thus far in early presidential polling.
A new Quinnipiac University Iowa poll was released yesterday and shows Gov. Walker also at 25 percent. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) places second, registering 13 percent just ahead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Carson, who both attract 11 percent support. Bush follows in fifth position with a lackluster 10 percent.
Though the preliminary numbers are very favorable for Gov. Walker, his long-term challenge will be cementing past and present gains and building upon this momentum for the many months before even the first ballot is cast. The presidential campaign is definitely a marathon not a sprint, and early success can sometimes be counter-productive.