Pilloried by negative attacks and lagging in funding and some polls, ex-Gov. Ted Strickland is airing the first television ads of his campaign against U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.
The multi-million ad buy began airing across Ohio Wednesday. The 60-second spot focuses on Strickland's hard-scrabble childhood in Appalachian Ohio, his blue-collar roots and the campaign's working-class focus.
The ads skirt the Democrat's four years as governor, a target of millions in anti-Strickland ads. Leading the state during a national recession, Strickland presided over deep budget cuts and about 350,000 job losses.
Anti-Portman ads also are filling Ohio airwaves in one of 2016's most expensive election contests.
Portman's campaign said the ads' "Ohio Heart and Soul" message ignores Strickland's time at a Washington, D.C.-based liberal policy think tank after losing re-election.