Clinton-Endorsed Senate Candidate Ted Strickland, 75, Already Collects Congressional Pension

File - Ohio Governor Ted Strickland delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010.
AP/Paul Vernon
Washington, DC

Before you start laughing at 75-year-old, pension-collecting former Ohio Gov. and Rep. Ted Strickland running for the U.S. Senate, you need to know that Bill Clinton has endorsed him, current polling has him beating Republican Rob Portman head-to-head, there’s already a move underway to get all of Ohio’s Democrat machine behind him, and if elected, his pension gets sweeter overnight, despite his being so far past retirement age.

Bonus – there’s an important Hillary Clinton angle in play, which may be why Bill is weighing in so early.

“Although the congressional retirement checks stop coming when an ex-lawmaker reenters the House or Senate, the benefits will only be sweeter when he or she retires again,” noted Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union, which tracks congressional pensions.

National Journal has the details on the Democrats latest idea of new blood in Washington. Ohio is a battleground state that will weigh heavily in 2016, which is likely why Bill Clinton endorsed so early. Strickland’s popularity helps Hillary more than it accomplishes anything else.

If Ted Strickland wins a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2016, he would, at age 75, be the oldest freshman ever elected to the chamber by popular vote. The Ohio Democrat would also arrive in Washington with something else unusual for a freshman senator: He’s already collecting a congressional pension.

The pension is a benefit accrued during two separate stints in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1993 to 1995, and from 1997 to 2007. And Strickland began collecting pension payments in 2008 while serving as Ohio’s governor, according to financial documents filed during his governorship.

The former governor is considered a top Democratic recruit in one of the battleground Senate races of 2016. National party strategists believe he is the Democrat best positioned to take on Republican Sen. Rob Portman in a race Democrats likely must win to take back control of the Senate. A recent poll from Quinnipiac University showed Strickland already leading Portman.