In Ohio Race, Lee Fisher’s Woes Continue Unabated

As if Rob Portman’s nine to one money advantage was not enough trouble for Lee Fisher in Ohio’s senatorial campaign, now Fisher’s press secretary, John Collins, is moving over to join the Senate campaign of Jack Conway, who is running against Rand Paul in Kentucky.

Kentucky, of course, is Ohio’s southern neighbor, and Portman’s communications director, Jeff Sadosky, used that to get in a clever dig about all the jobs Ohio has lost: “Just like over a thousand others, this is one more job that’s moved south to Kentucky on Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher’s watch.” I

Although it may be true, as Fisher’s campaign manager Lynne Bowman said, that “Ohioans aren’t the least bit concerned about campaign staffing,” the optics of this are not good — and they are made even worse by the fact that Bowman herself joined Fisher’s staff only a month ago after Fisher’s second campaign manager, Jay Howser, left. Yes, Howser was Fisher’s second campaign manager; he replaced Gen Prado, who was the first. And there have been other departures as well. Fisher apparently has a reputation for being difficult to work with — but whatever the reason, this is a very high staff turnover rate, and it has Democratic Party leaders worried.

Time for Barack Obama to come to the rescue — and he is, indeed, going to be in Ohio next month to help with fundraising efforts and talk to Ohioans about the economy. Here’s what’s a bit odd, though: The advance press notice coming out of the White House about Pres. Obama’s upcoming trip doesn’t mention Lee Fisher at all. The visit seems to be mostly focused on raising money for the Democratic Party, and on helping Gov. Ted Strickland in his own reelection campaign. Here is how CNN’s Political Ticker blog puts it:

President Obama will lend a hand to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s re-election campaign next month.Strickland’s campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith confirmed the visit Tuesday after it was reported in the Columbus Dispatch.

Obama plans to deliver a speech on the economy in Columbus on August 18, followed by a fundraiser for Strickland and the Ohio Democratic Party.

Vice President Biden has already traveled to Ohio to help Strickland, who is facing Republican John Kasich in a closely contested campaign.

Maybe the Democratic strategy is to focus time and money on the top state race, in the hope it will have a coattail effect.

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