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Will Debates Matter In The U.S. Senate Race?

University of Cincinnati
Statehouse News Bureau
Political Science Professor David Niven

There will be three debates between Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman and his Democratic challenger, former Governor Ted Strickland, in the coming weeks.

University of Cincinnati Political Science Professor David Niven says Portman’s double-digit lead in recent polls is due largely to the estimated $50 million spent by groups that don’t have to reveal their donors. But he says Portman could be challenged in the upcoming debates.

“He’s stuck to mainstream issues instead of talking Republican talking points. He’s stuck to his own personal campaign instead of running with the Republican ticket. So he’s done as much as possible to both be an ever present candidate and the invisible man and thus far, it’s worked for him.”

Niven says Strickland will have work hard to get his message out during those debates to have a chance to win.

Contact Jo Ingles at