(CNN) - Barack Obama's former campaign manager is taking sides in a high-profile Democratic primary.
David Plouffe sent a fundraising appeal Wednesday to supporters of Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, the frontrunner for the state's Democratic Senate nomination, calling Fisher "a champion for Ohio workers."
Fisher has garnered support from the party establishment in his bid to replace Sen. George Voinovich, who is retiring next year. But before Fisher can take on the likely Republican nominee, former Bush administration budget director Rob Portman, Fisher must first defeat Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in the Democratic primary. Brunner trails Fisher in statewide polling and has struggled to raise money since announcing her candidacy.
But Plouffe is keeping his eye the general election. He wrote that Portman's policies under Bush cost Ohioans jobs and helped spark "the worst economic recession in our lifetimes.
"If Karl Rove was the 'architect' of Bush's campaigns, then Portman was the 'architect' of Bush's economic agenda," he wrote in the e-mail. "We can't go back to the same failed policies that got us where we are today. And that's why we need Lee Fisher."