In Clinton’s path to the White House, Ohio isn’t a must-win

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Hillary Clinton arrives in Ohio Monday, it will be her first appearance in the Midwestern battleground in a month.

While Clinton was away, Republican rival Donald Trump showed strength in Ohio public opinion polls, buoyed by his appeal with the state’s white working-class voters.

In another blow for Democrats, party groups have cut funding for Senate candidate Ted Strickland, the former Ohio governor who has struggled in a race that was once expected to be among the most competitive in the nation.

In previous election years, any sign of shakiness in Ohio would have a campaign on edge. But Democrats’ increasing reliance on minority voters to win presidential elections has opened new avenues to the White House for Clinton, and turned Ohio into a less essential state.