The Democratic candidate, Lee Fisher, the state’s lieutenant governor, is struggling against the Republican Rob Portman, whom some polls have as crossing the 50 per cent mark in a state where Barack Obama’s approval ratings remain low.
A recent CBS poll of Ohio voters found that 38 per cent approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, while 55 per cent disapprove. Portman, 54, announced his candidacy when the Ohio senator George Voinovich said he would not be running for re-election.
A former congressman who served as director of budget and trade policy adviser to President George W Bush, Portman has amassed a significant war chest – larger by a ratio, the Washington Post suggests, of 8:1 compared to that of his Democrat rival.
As in so many states, “jobs” has become a critical issue in Ohio. Portman has been keen to stress throughout the campaign that Ohio has lost 400,000 jobs.
The Republican has been described as one to watch in future years.
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