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Koch brothers pull funding from Portman campaign, confident in fall victory

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The Koch brothers’ network announced Tuesday that they plan to cancel advertising in the Ohio Senate race, voicing confidence in Sen. Rob Portman’s, R-Ohio, victory this fall.

The network of donors, led by prominent conservative donors Charles and David Koch, will suspend $2.1 million planned for advertising in late September. The Koch brothers have already shelled out $10 million in TV, radio and digital advertising for Portman, according to The Hill.

“Rob Portman has run one of the strongest campaigns of the cycle, he maintains a significant lead in virtually every poll and the dynamics of the race have changed,” Koch network spokesman James Davis said to The Hill.

“We will remain on air through Sept. 14 with our current ads, but given Portman’s strong position in the race, we are going to drop the remaining reservation and reserve flexibility over future spending.”

This decision comes one day after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee postponed a $500,000 TV ad buy for the Democratic candidate former Gov. Ted Strickland set to air Sept. 13. DSCC won’t launch that campaign until Sept. 22.

The former Ohio governor has struggled to match his Republican challenger’s cash on hand. As of Aug. 31, Portman had raised $20.8 million compared to Strickland’s $7 million, according to OpenSecrets.

Portman also picked up a major union endorsement from the Ohio Conference of Teamsters in late July. The Ohio Teamsters previously backed Strickland in his successful governor’s campaign in 2006 and his unsuccessful re-election bid in 2010.

David Bergstein, a Strickland campaign spokesman, said he was confident the campaign has the resources needed to communicate effectively with voters.

“Portman and his billionaire allies have already spent more money attacking Ted Strickland than any other Democrat in the country — including Hillary Clinton — and they’ve failed to put this race away,” Bergstein said.

Portman holds a lead over Strickland in the polls. As of Aug. 31, Portman leads by 7.5 percent, according to the average of public polls from RealClearPolitics.

According to a RealClearPolitics summary, Strickland has not held a lead in the race since May.

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