A super-PAC supporting Democratic City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld's underdog bid for Ohio Senate will spend almost it's entire 2015 fundraising haul on a new ad buy meant to boost his name recognition while hammering his opponent on gun control. 

The almost $700,000 buy comes less than two months before the state's primary and attacks former Gov. Ted Strickland, the party favorite who holds a major lead in the polls, on his gun-friendly record during his time as governor. 


Neil Kammerman, an aide to the New Leadership for Ohio super-PAC that backs the Cincinnati councilman's bid, confirmed the amount of the buy to The Hill. He said it will play on television stations in the Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Youngstown and Cincinnati markets. 

This first buy spans Feb. 13 through Feb. 29 and a press release from the group adds that additional buys will come over the next few weeks. It’s on top of a previously announced digital buy for the same spot that runs through the March 15 primary. 

The buy likely represents the vast majority of the super-PAC’s bank account — it reported raising about $730,000 by the close of 2015. 

“We’re making good on our promise to spread the word across Ohio, through all available media, that P.G. Sittenfeld is the only choice for Ohioans who want a Senator with a record of standing up to the N.R.A. and speaking up for common sense gun reforms,” Paul De Marco, the super-PAC's chairman, said in a statement along with the ad. 

“As the past few weeks have shown, Ted Strickland fails this test, just as badly as Rob Portman does.”

Strickland's camp has bristled at that assessment from Sittenfeld and his allies, who repeatedly wave Strickland's 2010 endorsement from the National Rifle Association in his face. 

David Bergstein, a Strickland campaign spokesman, brushed aside the audio by arguing that the former governor was only summarizing his record and that he's been vocal about the need for gun control during this election.

“Ted supports additional measures to address the epidemic of gun violence like background checks and closing the terrorist gun loophole that will help keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, criminals and the mentally ill,” Strickland campaign spokesman David Bergstein, said in a statement last week in response to criticism from Sittenfeld. 

“The only candidate in this race who doesn’t support commonsense background checks and closing the terrorist gun loophole is Senator Rob Portman, and it is unfortunate that P.G. is resorting to a false, personal attack against former Governor Strickland in an effort to bring attention to his campaign.”

Sittenfeld's name recognition is far below Strickland's, so his allies hope that the increased visibility will help make up his gap at the polls. Almost three quarters of Ohio Democrats polled by Public Policy polling in January didn't know enough about Sittenfeld to say whether they viewed him favorably, while the same poll showed Strickland with a majority favorable view and a primary lead of 61 percent to 10 percent. 

That poll was commissioned by the Ohio Democratic Party, which endorsed Strickland earlier this year.