Senate races

Senate Dem PAC delaying Ohio ads

The main super-PAC backing Senate Democrats is canceling about two weeks’ worth of broadcast TV time in several Ohio markets.
The Senate Majority PAC’s move is a sign that Democrats are growing increasingly pessimistic about former Gov. Ted Strickland’s chances of ousting Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
{mosads}The group had reserved nearly $4 million in airtime across four Ohio markets between Sept. 6 and Oct. 3. But early Tuesday, several Republican ad buyers told The Hill that at least some of those ads — totaling about $191,000 in the Columbus and Dayton markets set to run between Sept. 6 and Sept. 19 — had been canceled.
Another source watching the advertising market said the PAC will delay all of its Ohio advertising until Sept. 20.
“We regularly adjust strategy to maximize our resources and make sure we’re in the best possible position to win back the majority this November,” Senate Majority PAC spokesman Shripal Shah said in an email.
Strickland’s campaign brushed off the delayed advertising.
“Our campaign is confident we’ll have the resources we need to communicate Ted’s message of fighting for working families and highlight Senator Portman’s record of pushing the agenda of the rich and the powerful at the expense of Ohioans who actually work for a living,” campaign spokesman David Bernstein said in an email.
The cancellations come one day after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) began delaying its own scheduled advertising buy in Ohio. Those ads had been slated to run beginning Sept. 13, but the DSCC is now delaying the beginning of its ad blitz until Sept. 22.
The Washington Post first reported the DSCC’s delayed spending.
Taken together, the cancellations are an indication that Strickland’s bid against Portman is not catching fire. 
The race has been one of the most expensive in the country; Democrats and Republicans have spent a combined $35 million on TV advertising in the race to date, according to a report compiled by the Wesleyan Media Project. Republicans have outspent Democrats in the race by about $9 million so far.
Democrats have not abandoned Strickland yet. Both the DSCC and the Senate Majority PAC have millions reserved for late September and October ad blitzes. 
But the delays reflect polls that show Portman maintaining a steady lead and the likely conclusion that Democrats have better chances to win Republican-held seats in other states like Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
A Monmouth University survey released last week showed Portman with 48 percent support to Strickland’s 40 percent. A CBS/YouGov poll days earlier showed Portman ahead 46 percent to 39 percent.
— Updated at 10:57 a.m. 
Tags Rob Portman

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