Green group backs Strickland in Ohio Senate race

Green group backs Strickland in Ohio Senate race

A major environmental group is endorsing Democrat Ted Strickland in his bid to take Ohio’s Senate seat from Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Reddit hires first lobbyists Senate panel approves bill compelling researchers to ‘hack’ DHS MORE (R) this year.

The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, the campaign arm of the major advocacy group, said Thursday that Strickland’s decades of elected office show he’s a reliable ally on issues like clean energy and climate change.

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“With all the progress we’ve made on clean energy and climate change over the past six months, it is more clear than ever that the people of Ohio deserve an ally like Ted Strickland in the U.S. Senate,” Sara Chieffo, vice president of government affairs at the League's Action Fund, said in a statement.

“As governor, Ted Strickland fought for policies that harnessed Ohio’s manufacturing expertise to grow the state’s clean energy economy, creating jobs and reducing harmful pollution,” she said.

The Ohio race is one of the most volatile in the country this year, with Portman a top target for Democrats as they seek to win back Senate control.

A Quinnipiac University poll last month showed a close contest, with Strickland receiving 44 percent support to Portman’s 42 percent, in line with surveys from recent months.

Portman has been more centrist than most of the GOP on environmental policy questions. He’s fought for years for a comprehensive energy efficiency bill and believes that climate change is real and man-made, but he has voted to overturn President Obama’s carbon dioxide rule for power plants and opposed other Democratic environmental policies.

Strickland was Ohio’s governor from 2007 to 2011 and previously served in the House. The Action Fund specifically pointed to Strickland’s energy policy history, which includes signing a major clean energy mandate for Ohio.

He said in a statement that he was “honored” to get the endorsement.

“The clean energy industry presents a tremendous source of opportunity for Ohio, and I believe it can help lead to an economic renewal in areas like where I grew up in Appalachia that have been hurt by a variety of market forces in the energy industry,” he said. “In the U.S. Senate, I will continue my efforts to position our communities to benefit from all this new economy will bring — more jobs, lower electricity rates, and better public health.”

The Portman campaign pointed out that the League has often been on Portman’s side throughout his Senate career.

“Funny that the League of Conservation Voters clearly forgot the praise and endorsements they gave Rob Portman for his bipartisan efforts on conservation through the years,” Portman spokeswoman Michawn Rich said.

“Under former Gov. Ted Strickland’s watch, Ohio lost more than 350,000 jobs and ranked 48th in job creation,” she said. “He has the worst record of any Senate candidate in the country, and this endorsement is just another example of outside special interest groups coming in to rescue his struggling campaign.”

Strickland easily beat Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld March 15 for the Democratic nomination in the Senate race.