Senate races

Koch network super-PAC hits Strickland in Ohio web ad

A top Koch network group on Wednesday launched a new web ad hitting Ohio Democratic Senate nominee Ted Strickland’s economic record as governor.

Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super-PAC that spearheads the conservative donor network helmed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, is again attacking Strickland as he squares off against vulnerable Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

{mosads}The ad, titled “Not for Ohio,” knocks the former governor over job losses and blames him for outsourcing to other states and abroad and for a high unemployment rate during his tenure.

The 30-second spot also attacks Strickland for raising taxes.

“Ted Strickland — a job creator, just not for Ohio,” the ad’s narrator says.

Freedom Partners Action Fund spokesman Bill Riggs said in a statement, “The only person who thinks Ted Strickland’s policies put Ohio on a path to recovery is Ted Strickland. The fact is, Strickland’s real legacy is that his policies drove businesses out of Ohio and thousands of jobs went with them. At a time when Ohio needed relief, Strickland’s failure to deliver was a national punchline.”

Strickland’s campaign pushed back on the ad and sent out a fact-checking document about its claims.

“Rob Portman is the ultimate Washington insider and the best senator that China’s ever had — so it’s no surprise that billionaires and shadowy special interests want Portman in Congress to continue pushing their agenda at the expense of Ohio’s working families,” spokesman David Bergstein said in a statement.

“There’s no amount of false charges that can distract Ohioans from Senator Portman’s unabashed support for job killing trade deals that have rocked our economy and outsourced hundreds of thousands of Ohio jobs to places like China.”

Last month, Freedom Partners Action Fund  launched a $2 million TV and digital ad buy targeting Strickland. Wednesday’s digital ad is separate from the initial buy.

Strickland’s campaign responded to the seven-figure ad buy by criticizing Portman for supporting trade deals it argued helped companies to outsource jobs abroad. The following day, his campaign released a digital ad knocking Portman as “the ultimate Washington insider.”

Jobs and trade agreements have taken center stage in the Ohio Senate race, and both candidates frequently lob attacks at one another over these issues.

Strickland and Portman will face off in what is expected to be one of the most competitive and expensive races this cycle.

In the first fundraising quarter of 2016, Portman raised $2.4 million and will report $13.5 million in cash on hand. Strickland raised more than $1.5 million in that same period and has more than $2.7 million in cash on hand.

While Portman continues to have a significant cash advantage, recent polls show the race is a dead heat.

— This story was updated at 6:22 p.m.

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