The independent expenditure arm of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is delaying a planned ad buy on behalf of Ohio Senate candidate Ted Strickland, according to a report, fueling concerns among Democrats that the former governor's race against Republican Sen. Rob Portman is in danger of slipping away.
The news was first reported by The Washington Post, which said the committee had canceled a weeklong, $500,000 buy scheduled to start in the middle of September. The newspaper also reported that the DSCC arm still planned to start a new buy, just later in the month.
A spokesman for the Strickland campaign countered that the DSCC hasn't reduced its total spending in the Ohio race, it had just shifted money toward the the coordinated spending effort. Party committees can spend a limited amount of money on TV ads in direct coordination with candidates.
“The DSCC is spending the same amount of money they were slated to spend, it’s just being used to help fund our existing ad instead of through an independent expenditure," said David Bergstein, spokesman for the Strickland campaign.
Still, Democrats have grown increasingly concerned about Strickland's candidacy. The campaign has struggled to raise money and has badly lagged behind Portman in most public polls. The worry runs so deep that some Democratic strategists now consider the North Carolina Senate race — a contest that was garnering little attention when the summer began — a better pickup opportunity for the party.
Ohio had been considered one of this year's marquee Senate battlegrounds as the Democrats hope to make gains on Republican seats and win back a majority in the chamber.