As the fall campaign season began, the Republican National Committee hoped to hold on to the Senate by erecting a "firewall" around three states with seats it thought it could protect: Missouri, Tennessee and Ohio.
The GOP may well hold on to the Senate on Nov. 7, but it won't be because of its firewall, at least not insofar as it was supposed to wrap around the Buckeye State. Republican Sen. Mike DeWine is 20 points down in a new Survey USA poll -- he's 8 points down in two other polls released this week -- and now the RNC is confirming that it won't be running any more TV spots for the senator between now and Election Day.
Ohio GOP chairman Bob Bennett tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the pullout shouldn't be construed as giving up on DeWine. The party is merely "shifting around their buys here" because DeWine has enough money to run his own ads, he says.
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.