Capitol Corridors: Washington news from our team in D.C.

Ted Strickland (left) and Rob Portman
Ted Strickland (left) and Rob Portman

Here’s a pretty telling statistic on how the U.S. Senate race in Ohio is faring, courtesy of the Wesleyan Media Project’s analysis of election advertising: Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 15, the U.S. Senate race in Ohio attracted the second-highest amount of advertising from outside groups, with 63,489 spots worth $48.9 million airing on Ohio TV stations at that time.

Between Sept. 16 and Oct. 13, however, Ohio was second last among competitive Senate races, drawing 9,784 ads worth $5.2 million.

Those few weeks, you’ll recall, are the weeks when groups started fleeing the Senate race in search of more competitive races to invest in. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who is seeking a second term, currently holds a double-digit lead in most polls over former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat.

Pennsylvania, meanwhile, has held steady at number one throughout that period.

The report also finds that while Democrats are airing more ads in tight Senate races in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada and North Carolina, but Republicans and Republican groups are airing more ads in Florida and Ohio. Between Sept. 16 and Oct. 13, Democrats and Democratic groups aired 1,166 ads in the state. Republicans, including Portman and GOP groups aired 8,618 spots during that time.

Strickland has new ad showing support from Obama

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is airing a new ad touting his support from President Barack Obama.

The ad, airing in Cleveland and Columbus markets, features Obama talking about Strickland’s achievements as governor of Ohio and member of Congress.

Obama emphasizes Strickland’s family background as a son of a steelworker and first one in his family to go to college.

“Ted delivered, and when it mattered most he had your back,” Obama said in the ad .

The ad comes at a time where polls show that Strickland’s victory over his opponent Republican Sen. Rob Portman is improbable.

In a Suffolk University poll published last week, Strickland was 15 points behind Portman, with 30.8 to 45.8 percent.

World Series bet

Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Dick Durbin of Illinois, made a friendly bet on the outcome of the 2016 World Series last week, offering the winner local beer from their respective home states.

Brown supports the Cleveland Indians and Durbin cheers for the Chicago Cubs.

Their bet was one of two in the Senate last week.

Portman and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., made a similar wager, each cheering for their state’s team. Portman will deliver Great Lakes Oktoberfest beer to Kirk if the Cubs prevail and will get a case of Illinois’ Goose Island 312 if the Indians win.

Portman targets African American vote

Portman’s campaign has released a series of radio ads that feature African American pastors from Ohio who praise Portman. The ads will run in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

The commercials stress Portman’s involvement in legislation to reduce recidivism, called the Second Chance Act, and his work to fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic in Ohio. The Second Chance Act gives ex-offenders the opportunity to get job training, overcome their drug problems and get mental health treatment. It was signed in 2008.

Rev. Henry Curtis from Cleveland, one of the pastors appearing in the radio ad, also appeared in a TV ad released by Portman’s campaign earlier this month. Portman has been endorsed by 28 African American religious leaders in Ohio.

The ad is part of Portman’s outreach to African American voters.