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Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announces he won’t run for re-election

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 10:52 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2021 at 2:06 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) announced in a press release Monday that he will not seek another term in office.

In explaining his decision to step away, Portman cited more time with family and friends. He also expressed a fatigue and frustration with an increasingly polarized country and Capitol.

“I don’t think any Senate office has been more successful in getting things done, but honestly, it has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy, and that has contributed to my decision,” the statement reads.

Georgetown University Political Science Professor Mark Rom said Portman is the latest in a long-line of moderate Republicans to prepare an exit from national politics.

“That does free him up to cast a vote in the impeachment trial of ex-President Trump that is not going to be based on his future career in politics but what is best for the American people and Constitution,” Rom said.

Portman’s statement highlighted his work to combat drug addiction and sex trafficking, lift up workers and cut taxes, protect National Parks and beef up national security. His Senate career began in 2010. Prior to his time in the Senate, he served in the House of Representatives and in the executive branch under President George W. Bush.

Lawmakers of both parties have praised Sen. Portman for his years of service to the nation. A number of Ohio’s members of Congress released statements reflecting on Sen. Portman’s time in office. Ohio’s Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown wrote, “We’ve not always agreed with one another, but we’ve always been able to put our differences aside to do what’s best for our state.”

And, at least two Ohio lawmakers may be considering a run to succeed him.

Sixth District Republican Congressman Bill Johnson, while not saying specifically he would seek the U.S. Senate seat in 2022, issued a statement Monday saying he might consider it.

“Recently, I’ve been humbled by those asking me to consider additional ways to serve the hardworking people of the great state of Ohio,” Johnson’s statement read. “I am seriously considering this opportunity, and over the next few weeks I will talk to my family, friends, and supporters to determine if this is the right time and the right opportunity.”

Johnson was elected in November to his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Eastern and Southeastern Ohio.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) threw his hat into the presidential race in 2019 but dropped out before voting began. In a tweet, he said he’s seriously considering running for Portman’s seat in 2022.

Multimedia Journalist Natalie Grim contributed to this report.

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