Former Ohio Governor and Senate hopeful Ted Strickland apologized earlier Wednesday after making a joke about the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

At an event with members of AFL-CIO union, Strickland joked:

"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."

He was referring to a 4-4 ruling that, according to the New York Times, "had threatened to cripple the ability of public-sector unions to collect fees from workers who chose not to join and did not want to pay for the unions' collective bargaining activities." Ending compulsory payment of union dues by non-members has long been a cause taken up by conservatives.

When contacted by the Washington Examiner's Al Weaver, the Strickland campaign issued an apology, saying: "That was an insensitive remark and I apologize."

Strickland is trailing Portman in the polls by between 5 and 7 points.