Major national Democratic political groups are canceling ad spending in the Ohio Senate race as Democratic former Gov. Ted Strickland fails to get traction against incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman in the critical swing state.
The Senate Majority PAC, Strickland's single largest source of outside support, has spent $10 million on the former governor's behalf but is now canceling major buys set to run the second week of September, according to an official with knowledge of the developments who requested anonymity because the information was not public.
That follows a similar move by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the same time frame, as reported by the Washington Post.
In both cases the groups are delaying their ad spending, not pulling out entirely, and could readjust and decide to invest more in the race. However, the developments clearly signal Democratic unease with the state of affairs in Ohio, where Strickland has struggled and is getting outspent while Portman runs a strong and disciplined campaign for a second term.
"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," said Senate Majority PAC spokesman Shripal Shah.
Democratic woes in Ohio are all the more striking given that Hillary Clinton is slightly ahead of Donald Trump in most polls. Democrats viewed Ohio is a prime pickup opportunity in their quest to retake Senate control and celebrated luring Strickland into the race, but the aging former governor has run an underwhelming campaign.
Democrats can retake control of the Senate if they hang onto the White House and pick up four Senate seats.
Details of the cancellations by the Senate Majority PAC included $163,000 scheduled in Columbus from Sept. 6-19 and $23,000 in Dayton, the official said.