U.S. Senate hopeful P.G. Sittenfeld picked up the endorsement of a number of Summit County elected Democrats Tuesday including Summit County Executive Russ Pry, Summit County Council President Eileen Shapiro, Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan, State Representative Emilia Sykes and State Senator Tom Sawyer.
Sittenfeld, 31, a Cincinnati councilman, is challenging former Governor Ted Strickland in March in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. The winner will face U.S. Senator Rob Portman in November.
“We wanted to sort of launch the home stretch phase of the campaign here in Summit County because it is the fourth most populous county, because it is absolutely critical to the successes of any statewide Democratic candidate,” said Sittenfeld. “There will be more names coming from us along the way.”
Council President Shapiro said her endorsement is about the future of the party. “We have choices in the state of Ohio. It’s about looking forward, not looking backward.”
It’s a theme Sittenfeld himself touched upon arguing a Strickland nomination would turn the race into a referendum on the former governor’s record.
"I think Republicans are so eager to make this United States Senate race a stale, angry, bitter argument about the past. We want to look forward; we want to say how can we tackle the urgent challenges of the day."
Strickland was endorsed early last year by the Ohio Democratic Party for the post in an effort to avoid a costly primary battle. Sawyer, who served in Congress with Strickland, said he didn’t like the way it was handled.
"They didn't consult those of us who are standing here, they didn't ask. Truth of the matter is neither did Ted,” said Sawyer. “PG did, he came and asked for our support, talked to us about his positions as candidates should."
Sittenfeld also challenged Strickland to debate which to date he has not accepted. Sittenfeld arguing there are differences between the candidates.
"Let's discuss them, not everyone is going to agree with me that's fine but let's at least have a robust conversation about what's at stake here,” he said. “We as the Democratic Party should never be afraid of the Democratic process."
The Strickland campaign released the names of 29 state and local elected Democrats from Northeast Ohio who have endorsed his candidacy.
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