(CNN) – Ohio gubernatorial candidate John Kasich is going on the defensive in his first campaign ad, hitting back against Democratic efforts to portray him as a former Wall Street big wig.
"Ohio has lost 400,000 jobs under Ted Strickland. He can't campaign on his record, so he and his friends try to tear me down," says the Republican in the new spot released Saturday. "Here's the truth. I didn't run Lehman Brothers. I was one of 700 managing directors. I worked in a two-man office in Columbus. I have a record of balancing budgets, cutting taxes, and creating jobs."
Strickland, the incumbent Democratic governor, has repeatedly portrayed Kasich as a creature of Wall Street because of his ties to the now-defunct investment banking house. Kasich, a former U.S. congressman, worked for Lehman from 2001 until its collapse in 2008.
Responding to Kasich's ad, Strickland spokeswoman Lis Smith said the Ohio Republican is "implausibly trying to downplay his role as a managing director at failed Wall Street investment firm Lehman Brothers after years of bragging about his work on Wall Street."
While this is Kasich's first ad of the campaign, the Republican Governors Association has already been airing spots taking aim at Strickland's record on the economy.
A recent Quinnipiac University survey showed Strickland holds a 7-point lead but is unable to draw support from more than 50 percent of the electorate.