Ted Strickland (D), the former Ohio governor running for Senate in the state, is facing criticism after joking that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death "happened at a good time."

Strickland's comments, which came during a speech at an AFL-CIO event in Cleveland, were uploaded to YouTube Wednesday and quickly circulated by Republicans.
 
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"A lot of average citizens out there don’t understand the importance of that court. I mean, the death of Scalia saved labor from a terrible decision," Strickland said at the Monday event.
 
"And I don’t wish anyone ill, but it happened at a good time, because once that decision had been made, it would have been tough to reverse it.”
 
The Supreme Court handed a victory to labor unions earlier this year when it split in a 4-4 decision in a case after Scalia's death. Scalia had been expected to cast the deciding vote rolling back state laws requiring some public-sector workers to pay union fees. 
 
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, in a release about the audio, said Strickland "celebrates" Scalia's death and that he is getting "all-out desperate."
 
Jeff Bechdel, America Rising PAC communications director, said separately that Strickland's remarks are "behavior below the office he seeks."
 
"Strickland owes Scalia's family and the members of our highest court an apology for these politically calculated, reprehensible remarks," Bechdel added in a statement. 
 
Strickland tried to walk back his initial remarks Wednesday, telling Cincinnati.com, "That was an insensitive remark and I apologize."
 
 
Democrats need to flip five seats — or four if they retain the White House — to win back the Senate majority.