So it begins: This week in Ohio, Americans for Prosperity will begin airing TV ads bashing Democratic Senate candidate Ted Strickland. The conservative nonprofit will put $1.4 million into this effort, but the big question is what will come next, two years after AFP spent tens of millions of dollars in an unprecedented early TV ad campaign targeting Democratic senators.
The Koch brothers-backed group started spending big for the 2014 elections in 2013, criticizing the launch of Obamacare and senators like North Carolina's Kay Hagan for supporting the law. AFP helped sink Hagan's public poll numbers along with other Democrats who went on to lose in November 2014, and it panicked Democratic campaigns and super PACs that ended up spending more money earlier than originally planned.
If AFP's Ohio ad is the start of another major multistate effort, the group would potentially set a grueling pace for Senate Democrats' raft of nonincumbent 2016 candidates, many of whom are just starting to raise money and introduce themselves to voters.
The new ad in Ohio, which will begin airing Thursday, criticizes likely Democratic Senate nominee Ted Strickland for jobs lost during Strickland's time as governor. The 30-second spot features a man who describes losing his job at DHL, a logistics company that shuttered its Wilmington, Ohio, hub in 2008, while Strickland was in office.