Ohio Democrats Set to Take on Portman's Private Sector Life

Incumbent senator's campaign responds that the attacks are desperate

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ohio Democrats have a new plan for Republican Sen. Rob Portman: Go after his career in the private sector. 

The Ohio Democratic Party issued a memo Monday outlining a plan of attack against the GOP incumbent, including highlighting the work he did as a lawyer. 

It's a new line of attack for the Democrats, who — along with their nominee for Senate former Gov. Ted Strickland — have focused heavily on Portman's record in public office and his continued support of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. 

In the memo, Democrats accuse Portman of working for a third-world dictator, a Chinese-based company that bent the rules, and Wall Street firm that contributed to the financial crisis.

"The campaign will spotlight how Portman’s association with these groups underscores the central case against him: Portman is the ultimate D.C. insider who has spent his decades-long career in Washington looking out for himself, the wealthy and the well-connected — no matter how out of step these interests are with Ohio’s values," the memo reads. 

In an unusual step, the Portman campaign issued a memo of its own Sunday evening, defending the senator's record and suggesting that the Strickland campaign and its allies were acting out of desperation. 

"The coming Strickland memorandum is so pathetic, we're releasing it for him," said Corry Bliss, Portman's campaign manager. "While Ted's false attacks are disappointing, they're not surprising given his lost union endorsements, failure to meet fundraising goals, and the fury his campaign ignited for racist gimmicks. "

Democrats have worried that Strickland's campaign has fallen behind Portman's as he struggles to raise money while being pummeled by TV ads from Republican-allied groups. When the year began, many analysts considered Ohio a top Senate battleground and a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats. 

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