TPM Reader MS makes a point about the Ohio senate race that I confess I’m embarrassed I didn’t consider. As I noted below, Democrat Lee Fisher is doing fairly well and seems to be on the upswing. (Interestingly, the Dem is rising on a similar trend in the state’s governor’s race.) The Republican in the race is former Congressman Rob Portman. But here’s the key. Portman served in 2005 and 2006 as President Bush’s U.S. Trade Representative.
Now, I think Democrats tend to be a lot more bark than bite on using trade policy to protect domestic industries — an unwillingness that on policy grounds I think I often agree with. Still, that will put Portman on the line for a lot of trade policies that could prove a real heavy load to carry in a state like Ohio during a bad recession. At a minimum, they’ll provide a lot of grist for political attacks from his Democratic opponent, Fisher.