It's Fisher vs. Portman for Senate

By Joe Hallett and and Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch

In a battle of Democratic titans for the party’s Senate nomination, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher defeated Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner but emerged relatively empty-pocketed for the fall campaign against a well-heeled Republican nominee, former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman.

With 98 percent of the statewide vote counted, Fisher was 10 points ahead of Brunner on a night that rendered the budding Tea Party’s bark louder than its bite in targeted Republican races for state auditor and secretary of state.

In the contest for auditor, the Ohio GOP-endorsed candidate, Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost, handily defeated Dayton-area state Rep. Seth Morgan, who relied on Tea Party rallies and Internet outreach to appeal to Republican voters. Yost, who benefited from state party-sponsored mailings and television ads in the campaign’s stretch run, held a 30-point lead en route to victory.

His nomination reaffirmed the power of the Ohio GOP to deliver victory for its endorsed candidates and exposed the Tea Party as a weak player. Although Morgan was endorsed by the Tea Party, Yost said he received “substantial support” from its members.

John C. Green, a University of Akron political scientist, said the support for the Tea Party-based candidates was lower than he expected given the activism and passion in the movement.

“As has happened with previous movements in elections, it’s a little bit harder to turn passion into (success at) the ballot box than it might at first appear,” Green said.

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