Democrats won't desert struggling Ohio Senate candidate Fisher

Despite the long odds, some Democrats aren't abandoning Ohio Senate candidate Lee Fisher. On Saturday, former Vice President Al Gore will headline a fundraiser for Fisher in Columbus.

Gore sent an e-mail pitch to supporters asking for contributions beforehand. "Every dollar donated today will go directly to two places — voter contact in the field and getting Lee's message out on television," Gore wrote.

On Sunday, Fisher is planning to attend the Cleveland fundraiser headlined by President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, according to his spokeswoman. His campaign made conflicting statements to reporters about whether he was planning to attend, which created confusion about his schedule. Fisher won't benefit financially from the event because the money is set to go to Gov. Ted Strickland (D).

Fisher will also speak at the Columbus rally with the president and first lady, according to his spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, Fisher had just $376,000 cash-on-hand as of Sept. 30, according to his Federal Election Commission report.

Fisher, Ohio's lieutenant governor, raised more than $1 million from June 30 to Sept. 30, but it seems much of that went into his first and only statewide TV ad that went up in early September. 

Republican Rob Portman, meanwhile, raised $2.8 million during the third quarter and now has $6.2 million banked for the final stretch of the race. He's run nine TV ads to Fisher's one.

Fisher's camp insists he plans a vigorous close to his bid for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), but that financial disadvantage will make it difficult for him to gain ground. Public polls have Portman leading by an average of 17 points, and a new Ohio Poll released Friday had him up by 22 percentage points, 58 percent to 36 percent.

As national Democrats look to boost Fisher's struggling campaign, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has remained on the sidelines. The DSCC has yet to run any TV ads in support of Fisher, according to FEC filings.

—Updated at 3:16 p.m. on Oct. 16 and 12:17 p.m. on Oct. 17