Ted Strickland, a Democratic candidate for Senate in Ohio, joked on Monday that the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died "at a good time" for unions.
Strickland was speaking at an AFL-CIO NextUp Young Workers event in Cleveland when he made his off beat remark, which was obtained by America Rising PAC.
Strickland was talking about a 4-4 ruling by the Supreme Court in March that many viewed as a victory for unions. Most observers believe Scalia would have probably given the tie-breaking vote against unions had he not died the prior month.
"And my friends, a lot of average citizens out there don’t understand the importance of that court," Strickland said. "I mean, the death of Scalia saved labor from a terrible decision."
"And I don’t wish anyone ill, but it happened at a good time because once that decision had been made, it would have been tough to reverse it," Strickland said.
The crowd laughed and cheered at Strickland’s comment about the timing of Scalia’s death.
Strickland apologized for his comments within hours of his initial statement.
"That was an insensitive remark and I apologize," Strickland said.
Strickland, a former Ohio governor, has had trouble getting support from several unions during his campaign. Many have instead supported his rival, incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman, this election cycle. Strickland has criticized those unions that are not backing him.
Update: This article was updated from its original version to include Ted Strickland’s apology.