Former Gov. Ted Strickland easily won the endorsement of the Ohio Democratic Party's executive committee over the weekend for the party's nomination for the U.S. Senate.
The endorsement puts the state's Democratic political machinery behind Strickland, which is not insignificant. But the Democratic nomination will be made by Democratic voters in 2016. That's the vote that decides who goes on the general election ballot.
The motion to endorse him was seconded by Toledo executive committee member Mike Friedman.
Toledo's other Democratic executive committee member, Alex Huguelet, was on vacation and did not attend the meeting. She said she would have supported Sittenfeld in that vote.
The executive committee met Saturday in Columbus.
Strickland is seeking to replace U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R.) who is seeking a second term. However, the former governor first has to dispatch Sittenfeld, a Cincinnati councilman.
Strickland voiced his thanks to the party:
“I would like to extend my sincerest appreciation to the Ohio Democratic Party for their support,” Strickland said. “We are fortunate to have such a strong Democratic Party here in Ohio, and today’s endorsement builds upon our momentum as we work together to create opportunities for all hard working Ohioans.”
Before the party vote, Sittenfeld issued a letter to the 146 committee members expressing his disappointment that it was trying to pre-determine the party's primary nomination.
"For millions of Democrats across the state to see a small group of party officials diminish voters' voices runs contrary to what our party stands for. I do not believe such a move will be easily or convincingly explained to rank-and-file Democrats across the state."
He said that, "no matter what the committee decides, my own candidacy will move forward."