Strickland defeats Sittenfeld in Ohio Senate primary
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Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has defeated Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld for the Democratic nomination in the Ohio Senate race. 

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Strickland clinched the nomination with support from the Democratic establishment and recent endorsements from President Obama and Vice President Biden. 

But Sittenfeld — despite lagging in polling and fundraising — fended off calls to drop out and sought to hold Strickland accountable over his gun record and refusal to participate in debates. 

The long-shot candidate and his super-PAC unleashed a series of attacks highlighting Strickland’s high marks from the National Rifle Association and garnered media attention and endorsements from Ohio lawmakers and daily publications. 

Strickland’s campaign responded to the high-profile attacks, saying the former governor reassessed his position after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and supports the president's executive actions to expand background checks. 

Strickland also defeated little-known challenger Kelli Prather. 

Incumbent Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Senate fails to override Trump veto over emergency declaration MORE also sailed to victory on Tuesday, winning the GOP nomination over challenger Don Elijah Eckhart. 

Strickland and Portman will now go head-to-head in what is considered to be one of the most competitive and expensive Senate races this cycle.

The former governor has been criticized for lackluster fundraising, and Portman has a significant cash advantage.

Late 2015 polling showed Strickland ahead by a razor-thin margin. But when the two were pitted against each other in a Public Policy Polling survey from last week, the race was a dead heat.