As the Ohio State Buckeyes prepared for a football matchup against Oklahoma on Saturday, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Ohio senatorial candidate Ted Strickland addressed a crowd of about 600 in the Ohio Union, where they pitched both Strickland’s and Hillary Clinton’s candidacies.
Strickland and Warren are the latest of a slew of high-profile Democrats to visit Ohio in recent days as part of a blitz on the Buckeye state by the Clinton campaign. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent who ran against Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, have also been campaigning in Ohio for the Democratic presidential nominee.
The most recent average of polls by RealClearPolitics shows Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump leading Clinton by one percentage point, using six polls from August and September. Incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman, whom Strickland is running against, is up 13.4 percentage points a RealClearPolitics average of polls for the Senate race.
Warren and Strickland split their time stumping for Clinton’s presidency and criticizing Portman and Trump.
“We’re going to come through at the end, and (Clinton is) going to need a Democratic Senate,” said Strickland, who was recently on campus to visit OSU’s chapter of College Democrats.
Strickland pitched his platform as more inclusive and oriented toward the working class than Portman’s by attacking Portman for his support on issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free-trade deal between the U.S. and several Asian countries, and NAFTA.
“(Portman) is the best senator China has ever had,” Strickland said.
He also contrasted Portman to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran against Trump in the Republican presidential primaries and recently called for bipartisan unity during a visit to the White House on Friday.
Kasich was there to discuss the TPP with President Barack Obama, although neither Warren nor Strickland mentioned that the TPP has been a legislative priority for Obama, or that Trump is also against the TPP. As secretary of state, Clinton supported the TPP, but later turned against it, saying it didn’t live up to her expectations.
Warren spent time creating parallels between Wall Street regulation after the Great Depression, the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the post-World War II economic boom and Clinton’s platform, which she said addresses issues of financial reform, racial discrimination and economics geared toward the middle class.
“We went from a country that worked for all of us … to a country that just worked for those at the top,” Warren said. “The game is rigged, and it’s up to us to un-rig it (with this election).”
Warren asked the crowd for two things: to register to vote, and to sign up to volunteer for either Clinton’s campaign or those of other down-ballot Democrats, such as Strickland.
“(Clinton’s and Strickland’s) agenda isn’t just a Democratic agenda, it’s an opportunity agenda, it’s an Ohio agenda,” Warren said.
Hanna Detwiler, a third-year in English and psychology and communications director for OSU’s College Democrats, said the event left her excited.
“(Strickland and Warren) are both amazing progressives,” she said, citing the portions of their speeches directed at financial reform.
Detwiler also added she was not worried by the polling numbers Clinton and Strickland are facing.
“It’s not unusual to see the polls looking like this at this time in the election,” Detwiler said, recalling Warren’s story of going from being down 4 percentage points in Massachusetts to winning the 2012 election by 7.5 percentage points. “(We Democrats) aren’t afraid of the polls, we’re going to keep fighting.”
Her words echoed Warren’s, who closed her speech by asking the crowd, “Are you ready to fight for Hillary (Clinton)? Are you ready to fight for Ted (Strickland)?”