Strickland, Portman debate Friday; Strickland still optimistic

FILE - In this May 5, 2012 file photo, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland speaks before a campaign rally for President Barack Obama at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Strickland said he's too focused on winning the 2016 general election for U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Rob Portman to debate Cincinnati city councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, his Democratic primary challenger. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Two men with long political histories argued over their records Friday during a debate.

Rob Portman and Ted Strickland had their first debate of the Senate race. They disputed how effective each had been while serving in Congress.

Portman holds a sizable double-digit lead in the polls.

That has prompted the Strickland campaign to cut its TV ad buys in Youngstown and three other Ohio cities.

“Well I wish we could have more on, but we actually increased our buy recently in Cleveland and Columbus,” Strickland said. “And our message is that Rob Portman really cannot be trusted.”

The Strickland campaign has cut its TV ad spending in half. Still, Strickland is optimistic.

“I’m feeling really good,” he said. “I’m enjoying this — getting out [and] talking to people. You know the people agree with me on the issues.”

Strickland and Portman will debate twice next week. Thursday night’s meeting will be carried on WKBN.com beginning at 7 p.m.