When it comes to campaign fundraising Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman has a large financial advantage over his opponent, Democratic former Gov. Ted Strickland. Now the two sides are trading jabs over the kind of money coming into the race.
Ohio’s U.S. Senate race between two political heavyweights is shaping up to be one of the most expensive races in the country.
In his second-quarter fundraising paperwork, Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman just reported raising nearly $4 million - about $3 million will go towards his campaign and the other $1 million will go to the Ohio Republican Party. He also has nearly $13.5 million cash on hand.
A good portion of that money is coming from political action committees. For example, the National Rifle Association has reported donating more than $219,000 to Portman’s campaign this year.
The Ohio Democratic Party claims Portman is a hypocrite for accepting PAC money. Spokesperson Daniel van Hoogstraten points out a few news articles from nearly 20 years ago highlighting Portman’s stance against allowing PACs to donate to campaigns.
“Whichever way the wind blows for the special interests Rob Portman serves is where Rob Portman ends up so his flip-flop on accepting PAC donations is just the latest example of Senator Portman’s DC double talk and flip-flopping just to boost his own political ambitions,” said van Hoogstraten.
Portman’s Democratic opponent, former Gov. Ted Strickland, hasn’t released his second quarter fundraising report yet. At last check he had raised a total of $5 million, less than half of what Portman has collected.
Strickland has also benefitted from PAC support, such as Planned Parenthood which has given his campaign more than $150,000.
Portman’s campaign hit back against the Democrats by saying Strickland’s low-fundraising numbers means he’s dependent on outside money, more specifically the left-leaning Senate Majority PAC which has devoted $9.5 million on ads that support Strickland.
Despite the financial gap, Strickland and Portman are still running neck and neck in recent polls.