Cleveland area Black Lives Matter group endorses Republican senator

A local Black Lives Matter chapter decided to endorse the Republican candidate for Senate in Ohio on Friday, Politico reported.

Rob Portman, the Republican incumbent in the state, landed the endorsement of the Black Lives Matter group in Cuyahoga County — the state’s most populous and home to Cleveland, host city of last week’s GOP convention.

The endorsement is highly unusual, given that the movement has been much more closely tied to Democratic politicians.

The group ripped Portman’s challenger, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, in the endorsement. It said the Ohio Democrat “managed to destroy Ohio’s budget and deplete its billions-dollar Rainy Day Fund.”

“In the current atmosphere of identity politics, BLMCC understands that endorsing even a well-qualified Republican such as Portman seems controversial; despite the fact that it was minorities who suffered the brunt of Ted Strickland’s gross financial mismanagement,” Jeff Mixon, president of the organisation, said in a Friday statement to Politico.

Mixon, who sits on the county’s Democratic Party’s executive committee, praised Portman for helping put major anti-opioid legislation into law earlier this month.

“Ted Strickland devoted little time to the cause of helping — rather than punishing — addicts,” Mixon wrote. “One thing that we at BLMCC feel confident about is this: the definition of ‘rational’ is not doing the same thing over and over — with little or no thought — expecting a different result. At some point, minority communities must carefully examine the impact of relying solely on the Democratic Sample Ballot on Election Day.”

The group endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in February.

Portman, who was also endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police earlier in the week, is locked in a tough reelection bout with Strickland. The Ohio Republican is up 4 points on the former governor in the RealClearPolitics polling average.

Business Insider reached out to Portman’s campaign for comment and will update this story upon their response.

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