Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is projected to win the Senate race in Ohio over former governor Ted Strickland (D).
Portman may have run the best race of any endangered Senate Republican this election cycle.
Outside groups spent nearly $50 million on the Portman-Strickland race.
A former staffer in both Bush administrations and a former U.S. trade representative, Portman knew he had to run a good race from the start given the quadrennial competitiveness of Ohio and how well Donald Trump seemed to be doing there.
Early ads reintroducing voters to their first-term senator were effective, portraying his work to fight an opioid crisis with Senate legislation and to combat sex trafficking. Meanwhile, Portman’s negative ads battered Strickland, who began the race as a well-liked former governor. But after being reminded of the job losses during Strickland’s term, voters had turned against the ex-governor by late August. National Democrats abandoned the race.
Of the 10 most recent public polls, all in October, Portman had a lead of at least 11 points. GOP strategists are already studying this campaign as a blueprint for future Republican Senate races.
Anu Narayanswamy contributed to this report.