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Strickland Announces Run For U.S. Senate


Former Democratic Ohio Governor Ted Strickland says his run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Rob Portman will focus on expanding job and educational opportunities for average people. 

Strickland announced the run, as expected, on Wednesday. His entry adds a formidable statewide name to what is expected to be one of the most watched and expensive of next year's Senate races. In a statement, Strickland said he wants to "save the American Dream" by going back to basics, such as creating living-wage jobs, investing in job-creating local infrastructure projects and making college accessible and affordable. Portman said voting for Strickland, whom Republicans have widely attacked for presiding over heavy job losses, would be a step backward. Strickland would face 30-year-old Cincinnati City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld in a Democratic primary.  More from Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles

Ted Strickland says he thinks more needs to be done to help low and middle class Ohioans who are having a hard time making ends meet right now. And he says he’s the guy to bring about those changes.

Strickland “I come from the working class.  I know what it’s like to really struggle to make ends meet. I believe there’s a contrast between me and the current senator, Rob Portman. I think he’s lived his life as a privileged person and he has spent his political life advocating for those who are already privileged.  And I want to be an advocate for working people, moms and dads who want to educate their kids, pay their bills, have a decent home, look forward to a secure retirement and in fact, I am describing to you the American dream.”

He says he has some ideas of things he wants to change. For starters, he thinks the minimum wage should be raised.

Strickland “People can work full time and still be in poverty. That’s wrong. I want to go to Washington and work to really fundamentally change this system that is stacked against average working people.”

Strickland says he’s received good responses from fellow Democrats. 
Strickland “Well you know I have been around and they do know me. And they are being very supportive as a matter of fact. There may be a few naysayers but by and large, the response has very positive.”

The Ohio Republican Party has been anticipating Strickland’s announcement for weeks, sending out news releases blasting Strickland’s record as governor. Chris Schrimpf speaks for the Ohio GOP.

Schrimpf “Well we saw Ohioans losing the American dream when Ted was Governor. There was 350,000 Ohio families who didn’t have a paycheck anymore and couldn’t put food on the table. And since Ted Strickland left office, we have seen 300,000 jobs come back. Ted’s rhetoric is a perfect example of why he should never be in office again. He has failed Ohio, he costs us thousands of jobs and set us up for fiscal and economic disaster.”

Schrimpf says Strickland is not going to beat Portman.

Schrimpf “We are going to see another failed campaign by Ted Strickland who, after he left his race for Governor left Ohio, became a special interest lobbyist so it’s clear that Ted has failed Ohio not once but twice. The voters will not respond well to him.”

Strickland is not the only Democrat who is running against Portman.

Recently, Cincinnati City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld announced he’s in the race too. In a written statement, he says he admires Strickland. But Sittenfeld says his focus is not on the primary. He is still in the race. Sittenfeld is 30. Strickland is 73.

Strickland “Am I up for it? Absolutely, I’m up for it. I’m up for it in every way.”

Strickland says he looks forward to campaigning and raising cash for his bid and adds he’s already been doing that. And he’s going to need it. At the last filing period, Portman reported he has nearly 6 million dollars in cash. The 2012 US Senate race in Ohio was one of the most expensive in the country, costing more than 43 million dollars. 

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