August 13, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Columbus, OH – Ohio’s Senate race has divided the state’s labor unions: While most are backing Democratic candidate Ted Strickland, Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman has won the support of the state Teamsters, the Fraternal Order of Police, the United Mine Workers of America—who said he would protect coal-mining jobs—and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18.
But the unions endorsing Strickland represent “by far the lion’s share” of the state’s organized workers, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga said here Aug. 5. Strickland, he added, “has been with us” on issues such as trade agreements, right-to-work laws, and raising the minimum wage, while Portman “is not.” Other unions backing the Democrat, who served 14 years in Congress and was governor from 2007 to 2011, include the Ohio Education Association, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the United Steelworkers, and the Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council. The race is likely to be the most expensive senatorial election in Ohio’s history: As of June 30, Portman and his outside supporters had already spent almost $32 million, while Strickland and his had spent about $11.4 million. Read more