As the U.S. Senate race kicks off, Ohioans are well aware of the stakes in this election. And the choice before them is stark.
Democratic Lt. Governor Lee Fisher has spent his career on the ground in Ohio, fighting to bring jobs and economic opportunity to our state. Republican Congressman Rob Portman has spent his life in the hallowed halls of Washington D.C., selling out Ohio’s hard-working families in favor of the lobbyists and Wall Street interests that know they can count on him to do their bidding.
A Washington Post headline about Congressman Portman’s campaign said it best: “Portman the Insider: Will Mr. Washington Go to Washington?”
As Lt. Governor Fisher runs on a job creation platform that includes support for small businesses and tough new measures to hold Wall Street accountable, Congressman Portman vows to return Ohio to the failed Washington-Wall Street policies of the past.
And Ohioans know all too well what that means:
Tax breaks for big corporations and the wealthiest Americans while ordinary Ohioans fall further behind. Trade deals that sell out American workers and ship tens of thousands of Ohio jobs overseas. And gross financial mismanagement that turned a record budget surplus under President Bill Clinton into a record deficit under George W. Bush—and his Budget Czar Rob Portman.
Unlike retiring Republican Senator George Voinovich, who was willing to reach across the aisle to get things done, Congressman Portman has aligned himself with the far right-wing of the Republican Party. Portman opposed a bipartisan Jobs Bill that cut taxes for Ohio small businesses, despite Sen. Voinovich’s support. Just last month, Portman supported a GOP filibuster against legislation to hold Wall Street accountable and protect Ohio consumers. And Portman supports a ruling by the Supreme Court that allows corporations and foreign interests to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections and drown out the voice of the people.
While Lee Fisher travels the state talking with Ohioans about the great challenges they’ve tackled together—from saving Norwalk Furniture to helping bring the Chevy Cruze to GM’s Lordstown plant—Congressman Portman will have to explain why, as one of the chief architects of the worst economy since the Great Depression, he should be elected to the Senate.
Fisher is Well Positioned to Win
Recent polls (here and here) show Lt. Governor Fisher with a 4-point lead over Congressman Portman, and show him well positioned to win in the Fall. The overall trend of polls conducted over the past four months favor Fisher.
While Congressman Portman will vainly attempt to lay the impact of a national recession at Fisher’s feet, he’ll have one major problem: Ohioans aren’t buying it.
Ohioans know that misguided economic and trade policies led us into this economic meltdown. Polling shows that Ohioans hold the Bush Administration (24%) and Wall Street (23%) accountable for the national recession, not the Strickland/Fisher Administration (3%) who has been forced to clean up the mess.
What’s more, the majority of Ohioans don’t know Congressman Portman. What will happen to Portman’s support when the 65% of Ohioans who still don’t know enough about him to have an opinion find out the truth—that while George W. Bush dug us into the deepest economic ditch of our lifetimes, Portman was holding the shovel.