Debate all you want to whether Pa is still a battleground state, but there's no question things are much more swinging next door in Ohio. The Romney camp is already advertising there (see above), Joe Biden campaigned there twice last week, and money is pouring into a GOP challenge of Democratic U.S. Sen Sherrod Brown, where state Treasurer Josh Mandel has drawn to within 6 points.
No Ohio Senate race has been close since 1976 -- writes Pittsburgher Shira Toeplitz at Roll Call -- but the reason this year is different is Citizens United-era spending. Anti-Brown forces have already spent $6.5 million months before the election and pro forces $1.1 million:
“It’s 6 points because they spent $5 million running ads against me since March of 2011. It’s amazing I’m not behind with that kind of money,” Brown said in a Monday phone interview. “No one in Ohio has had this kind of money spent against them this early — not even close.”
But Dems are energized too about the presidential race, mostly because of their successful effort last year to ride blue collar resentment into repealing a GOP anti-union bill. From The New Republic:
But what makes Ohio especially intriguing in 2012 is that some Democrats believe the politics of the state have fundamentally changed since the last election cycle. For liberals, what took place in Ohio last fall was essentially a long-deferred dream come true. Democrats have spent decades lamenting the drift of white, working-class voters to the Republican column despite evidence that the GOP does not serve their economic interests. If, in the wake of the SB5 vote, those voters were to return to the Democratic fold, it would dramatically alter the state’s political landscape. And a number of Ohio Democrats think that’s exactly what is now happening. “We’ll have an opportunity in 2012 to have a conversation we weren’t able to have in 2008, largely because of the attack on collective bargaining,” says a top Obama campaign official in Ohio.