Senate races

Portman uses Iran deal to batter Democratic opponent

Francis Rivera

Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) reelection campaign has launched ads bashing his main Democratic opponent for supporting the Iran nuclear deal.

The online ads, shown first to The Hill, tie Portman’s likely opponent, former Gov. Ted Strickland (D), to President Obama and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton for his support of the deal.

{mosads}“Rob has carefully studied the agreement, received input from experts, attended the briefings, and sought advice from fellow Ohioans,” campaign manager Corry Bliss said in a statement. “Rob believes this deal is dangerous and runs counter to the national security interests of the United States and our allies in the region.”

The ad launches on the same day that Quinnipiac University released a poll that found Ohio voters oppose the nuclear deal by a margin of 58 percent to 24 percent. 

When users click through the Portman ad, it sends them to a poll asking where they stand on the deal.

“Do you agree with Rob Portman that the Iran deal is bad for Ohio and America?” one version of the ad asks.

Strickland backed the deal last week in a statement, lauding the “strong, enforceable agreement” as a way to avoid war and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Portman’s spots also criticize Strickland’s work with the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund. Strickland worked for the group after losing his bid for reelection as Ohio’s governor in 2010.

“National security will be a defining issue in this race and Governor Ted Strickland demonstrated that he’s more interested in placating his former employer than preventing a nuclear Iran,” Bliss said.

The campaign plans to run the ads as part of a larger, six-figure ad series that focuses on Strickland’s time as governor and with the Center for American Progress, a source familiar with the plan told The Hill. The source added that the spots will run in all Ohio media markets.

The Iran nuclear deal is a pivotal piece of Obama’s foreign policy platform. It would lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for concessions from that country on its nuclear program.

Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Jennifer Donohue hit back on Portman’s record during his tenure in both the House and the Senate. 
“It’s good to know Senator Portman actually read this agreement since he didn’t bother to read the free trade deal he fast-tracked,” she said in a statement.
“But it’s surprising Senator Portman would want to get into a debate over foreign policy judgement given that he voted for the war in Iraq and for eight free trade agreements that shipped Ohio jobs overseas, while Ted Strickland voted against the war in Iraq and against eight free trade agreements that shipped Ohio jobs overseas.”

Portman is considered one of the most vulnerable senators in the 2016 election cycle, as his home state of Ohio is a perennial swing-state. Strickland is considered the favorite to win the Democratic nomination over P.G. Sittenfield, a Cincinnati city councilman.

Recent polls confirm the tight nature of the race — a June Quinnipiac poll found Strickland leading by 6 percentage points, while another poll that same month from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found Portman ahead by a 2 percentage point margin.

Tags 2016 Senate elections Barack Obama Hillary Clinton Iran nuclear deal Rob Portman Ted Strickland

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