From Open Secrets:
Outside groups — including politically active nonprofits like the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity — have spent more money trying to influence the 2016 Ohio Senate race between Republican Sen. Rob Portman and his challenger, Democrat Ted Strickland, than any other congressional contest: $15.5 million so far.
The RealClearPolitics polling average currently has the candidates in a statistical dead heat: 40 percent for Portman to 40.5 percent for Strickland, a former House member and onetime governor of the state. But in terms of outside spending, Portman’s side has a formidable lead. Seven conservative groups have spent $11.5 million — almost $1.3 million supporting Portman and $10.3 million attacking Strickland.
On the other side, liberal groups have spent only $289,623 backing Strickland, and $3.65 million against Portman. And while they have spent three times as much attacking Portman as conservative groups have put into supporting him, conservative outside groups have laid out more than 35 times as much on anti-Strickland efforts as liberal groups have spent supporting him.
Why is there so much cash sloshing around the Buckeye State? Partly because, as a perennial swing state, Ohio is critical territory for both parties. Furthermore, although incumbents like Portman have an (often financial) advantage in winning re-election, he’s up against a tough competitor. Strickland already has name recognition from his term as governor; he lost his re-election bid to failed presidential candidate and current Ohio Gov. John Kasich by just 2 percent in 2010.
In addition, conservative money could be flowing more…