Citing partisan gridlock and a desire to spend more time with his family, Sen. Rob Portman announced today that he will not seek re-election in 2022 when his term ends.
"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," Portman said in a statement. “We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground. This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades."
Portman, who attempted to thread the needle in supporting some of former President Donald Trump's worst and most egregious lies while maintaining a semblance of dignity and professionalism, said, "Over the next two years, I look forward to being able to focus all my energy on legislation and the challenges our country faces rather than on fundraising and campaigning."
He looks forward to re-entering the private sector and "being able to be more involved in the community and in our family business. And I plan to stay involved in public policy issues."
“This is a tough time to be in public service. For many of the issues I am most passionate about, I will continue to make a difference outside of the Senate, beyond 2022," he said. "In the meantime, I am hopeful that President Biden will follow through on his inaugural pledge to reach across the aisle, and I am prepared to work with him and his administration if he does. I was on the bipartisan call yesterday on a new COVID-19 package. I hope the Administration will work with us on a more targeted approach that focuses on things like vaccine distribution, testing and getting kids back to school."
The Republican, who also served in the U.S. House, was first elected as Senator in 2011.
He made the announcement with nearly two years left in his term, he said, to allow prospective candidates ample time to get campaigns up and running.
As for who that might include, an early prognostication from one of Ohio's most tapped-in political reporters:
From a Republican strategist who works on Senate races and is very familiar with Ohio: "If Jim Jordan doesn’t run, Josh [Mandel] is the guy," said the strategist, referring to 2012 Republican nominee against Sherrod Brown and former state treasurer who has $$ parked for a run.— Henry J. Gomez (@HenryJGomez) January 25, 2021
On the Democratic side, you're going to hear a lot about Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Rep. Tim Ryan.— Henry J. Gomez (@HenryJGomez) January 25, 2021
Democrat Jeff Sites today announced a campaign to win Jordan's current seat in Ohio's 4th Congressional District.