Former President Bill Clinton is endorsing former Ohio governor Ted Strickland’s U.S. Senate bid.
Strickland has long ties with the Clintons and was a leading backer of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s successful 2008 Ohio presidential primary effort.
But the early endorsement comes with 30-year-old Cincinnati councilman P.G. Sittenfeld also seeking the Democratic nomination in a primary more than a year away.
Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is seeking re-election.
Clinton says in a statement that Strickland, 73, offers a proven record of service to working Ohioans, and qualities including determination and idealism.
Sittenfeld’s campaign shortly afterward Tuesday announced veteran Ohio Senate race strategist Dale Butland has joined his campaign as senior adviser.
Butland says Clinton’s endorsement isn’t a surprise and that Sittenfeld is committed to giving rank-and-file Democrats a choice.