UPDATED: Meet Ted Strickland, The Most Disappointing Democrat Of 2015
UPDATE: Another day, and the drumbeat grows louder for Ted Strickland to debate the issues with his primary opponent. The Akron Beacon Journal again called for debates between Strickland and Sittenfeld:
There still is time, and even an invitation for the leading Democratic candidates in the race for the U.S. Senate to debate before the March 15 primary. A public radio station and a commercial television station in Cincinnati propose playing hosts to Ted Strickland and P.G. Sittenfeld. Surely, other media outlets would do the same, if the candidates agreed to take the initial leap.
Thus, it is worth reiterating the case for the two to engage in a series of exchanges across the state.
Democrats should expect more, especially with their party wandering in a deep gully — holding just two statewide offices, a U.S. Senate seat and a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.
The Beacon Journal went on to note the differences between Strickland and Sittenfeld, specifically noting Strickland’s gun flip-flop :
Most intriguing is that Strickland and Sittenfeld have significant differences, or questions worthy of exploring in a debate.
Take gun rights and regulation. Sittenfeld recently delivered a major speech laying out his approach to curbing gun violence, among other things, universal background checks and a federal ban on military-style assault weapons. For his part, Strickland has been evolving, to put it delicately. The candidate who once proudly embraced his A+ rating from the National Rifle Association now favors gun restrictions he long opposed.
The Beacon Journal ended it’s call for debates with a parting shot against the irrelevant Ohio Democratic Party:
All of it suggests plenty to discuss and, more, an opportunity for the state Democratic Party to remind Ohioans that it still is around and even prepared to be relevant.
Democrats have more than their fair share of underperforming candidates across the 2016 senate map, but the clearest example of sky-high expectations meeting a lackluster reality is Ohio’s Ted Strickland.
National Democrats were positively giddy when the former governor announced his senate run, and immediately acted to clear the field for him. Now, as 2016 kicks off, Strickland has lagged way behind fundraising expectations, can’t get rid of pesky primary opponent P.G. Sittenfeld, and faces headlines full of his flip-flop on gun rights and dodging debates.
It should be noted that Strickland’s refusal to debate is especially ironic given that he sent someone in a chicken suit to demand no less than SIX debates with his opponent in his 1996 Congressional race.
The first full week of the election year has been another dozy for Strickland. First, in addition to Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s record fundraising, the Super PAC supporting Sittenfeld announced it raised over $700,000 in just over three months – enough to do real damage ahead of the mid-March primary.
Then, using President Obama’s gun control announcement as a lynchpin, Sittenfeld hit the campaign trail to level his most direct attacks on Strickland yet, hyping his past positons on Second Amendment rights that are now unpalatable to the liberal base:
Sittenfeld’s momentum didn’t go unnoticed by reporters and pundits. Ohio State University-Lima political scientist Dr. Bill Angel likened Sittenfeld to progressive hero Bernie Sanders:
Dr. Angel went on to compare the Democratic Party’s “anointing” of Strickland to their similar approach with 2010 senate candidate Ed FitzGerald, resulting in a disastrous election cycle for Buckeye State Democrats, and pan Strickland’s debate dodging as making him “look weak”: