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Ohio automobile dealer Tom Ganley is airing a statewide television ad to introduce himself to the Republican voters who will decide whether he or former Rep. Rob Portman should be the party nominee in a key open-seat Senate race next year.

The 60-second ad touts Ganley’s business background and takes an anti-Washington tone, with a narrator saying that Ganley’s 47-year career of creating jobs and balancing budgets amounts to “hard work the Washington politicians don’t understand.” Ganley speaks only at the end of the ad, in a required disclaimer approving the communication.

“To help create jobs for Ohio, Tom Ganley knows Washington must stop reckless spending, cut taxes for small business, say no to taxpayer-funded bailouts of big business,” the narrator says.

Ganley campaign manager Jeff Longstreth declined to comment on the ad’s specifics, including how much the campaign is spending on it. “We’re going where the voters are,” he said.

Ganley is expected to spend millions of dollars ahead of the Republican primary election next May. Portman, a former budget and trade official to President George W. Bush, is well-funded, with $5.1 million cash-on-hand in his campaign account as October began. GOP officials are backing Portman and Ganley is running as a political outsider.

The Democratic candidates are Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich is not seeking re-election.

UPDATE: Ganley’s ad doesn’t appear to be that large – a $60,000 buy on Fox only, according to Kevin DeWine, the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, which has endorsed Portman.

CQ Politics rates the Ohio Senate race as a tossup.

*To see how the 2010 Senate races are shaping up, check out the CQ Politics election map.*

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