Spending mounts in Ohio Senate race

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The money keeps rolling in — and getting spent — in high amounts in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race.

Combined spending so far for TV, radio and online ads of various kinds for and against Republican Sen. Rob Portman and former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland starting late last year is up to at least $45 million, and much more is expected.

Portman’s campaign is devoting $15 million to TV and online advertising from June through Election Day, dwarfing the cash Strickland’s campaign has had available due to lagging fundraising.

Outside groups are spending millions more on direct and indirect attack ads.

Senate Majority PAC, affiliated with outgoing Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid, has committed to spending about $10 million through fall on anti-Portman ads in support of Strickland.

Other outside groups — including those representing pro-abortion rights advocates, environmentalists and labor unions — have spent at least another $7 million against Portman since last year for what’s known as issue advocacy. The ads might question a Portman position such as opposing confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court justice, allowing groups to avoid restrictions on direct campaigning yet adding to the cacophony filling Ohio’s airwaves.

Freedom Partners Action Fund and Americans for Prosperity, groups affiliated with the billionaire Koch brothers, have gone after Strickland to the tune of $8.3 million, with other groups also piling on.