Our Future Ohio, an independent expenditure campaign: In 2010, Democrats were broadsided as the Republican Governor’s Association and other Republican-supported independent expenditure committees (like American Crossroads) waged an all-out offensive against Democratic statewide and legislative candidates. These efforts, combined with a national predisposition against incumbent politicians, sent the polling numbers of Governor Ted Strickland and the entire Democratic ticket plummeting into negative double digits.
In early October, a group of Democratic activists formed Our Future Ohio and Our Future Ohio PAC to counter the Republican onslaught. With the Governor running 12-points behind his Republican challenger, we took on the fight knowing it was going to be an uphill battle (to say the least). Our Future Ohio leaders had seen the Governor’s campaign almost exclusively focus its efforts on attacking his opponent. They believed that any hope of a Democratic turnaround was going to require an all-out effort in convincing Ohio voters that Governor Strickland was the better choice to turn around the economic crisis Ohio experienced in 2008-09.
With a series of television ads, we redefined the Governor’s race. Making the choice between Governor Strickland, a man voters trusted and believed was spending all of his energy fighting to turn things around, or John Kasich, a Wall Street banker whose schemes had created the mess in which Ohio found itself, was a hard fought battle. Within days of our spots airing, the Governor‘s double-digit deficit began to shrink. In three and one-half weeks, the election moved into a “too close to call” race during its final weekend. A former editorial editor of a major Ohio newspaper called one of our ads, “The best [expletive] ad of the entire campaign.”