Strickland takes Dems spot in U.S. Senate race

Tuesday's win pits Strickland against Republican Senator Rob Portman

Ted Strickland takes the Democratic spot in the Ohio U.S. Senate race.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – A former Ohio governor has won the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in Ohio for the Republican-held seat.

Ted Strickland handily held off a spirited challenge by Cincinnati councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who argued that state Democrats needed fresh faces and ideas. Strickland had 69 percent of the vote to 20 percent for Sittenfeld and 10 percent for Cincinnati occupational therapist Kelli Prather with 7 percent of precincts reporting unofficial returns.

Incumbent Rob Portman easily won nomination to seek a second term in what’s already a hotly contested battle with Strickland.

Democrats have targeted swing-state Ohio as among the places where they could win a Senate seat in their quest to retake a majority.

Strickland and his supporters gathered at the Wolf’s Ridge Brewing and Tap Room in downtown Columbus where Strickland addressed his supporters. He thanked his wife, Francis, and issued a special thank you to his young supporters working on his campaign.

“You send me to Washington, D.C. to stand beside Sen. Sherrod Brown and to be your advocate, and I promise you every day I will get up and work as hard as I can possibly work,” Strickland said.

In earlier remarks to the Akron Press Club, the former Ohio governor faulted Portman for opposing the auto industry bailout, favoring foreign trade deals that cost U.S. jobs and unraveling overtime-wage protections.

Republicans in the closely watched race lobbed back, questioning Strickland’s economic record as governor, the timing of his recent position reversal on guns.

At year’s end, Strickland raised about $3.8 million compared to Portman’s $10 million in donations, which set a state record. Strickland says he needs far less money than Portman because his name is well known.

WKBN has the latest election results from the Mahoning Valley and around the state and country.

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