Jack Nicklaus, who grew up in Upper Arlington and won 18 major golf championships, endorsed Sen. Rob Portman for re-election today, the first time the legendary golfer has ever appeared in a TV commercial on behalf of a political candidate.
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In the commercial, which shows photos of Nicklaus throughout his career, the former Ohio State University golfer said “Rob is the real deal, he’s making a difference in standing up for American manufacturing, and he’s fighting to strengthen our military to keep us safe.”
The Nicklaus commercial is just one part of a multi-million dollar series of commercials Portman’s campaign is airing against Democratic challenger Ted Strickland.
The Portman-Strickland race originally was regarded as crucial by Democrats if they hoped to seize control of the U.S. Senate in the November election. The Republicans currently control 54 seats to 44 for the Democrats, while independents Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine caucus with the Democrats.
But with polls showing Portman expanding his lead over Strickland, Senate Democrats have scaled back spending on the race. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last Friday cancelled two weeks of TV commercials on behalf of Strickland that originally had been scheduled to run later this month.
Also last week, the Strickland campaign was staggered when a separate Senate Democratic political action committee scrapped nearly $200,000 of TV commercials on Strickland’s behalf.